Please see below for the latest information regarding the Refurbishment of St.Mary's Church.
A dead bat was found in the nave during the clearance of the furniture from the church. English Nature was informed and they asked a bat specialist to investigate. He confirmed that the dead bat was a pipistrelle – a small reddish-brown bat, the commonest British bat. He also thought that there was a possible presence of bats under the chancel roof. The specialist confirmed that the groundwork could continue, i.e. the excavation of the nave floor in preparation for the installation of the under floor heating. However he advised that the electrical installation of the new lighting system in the upper part of the chancel should take place between September and October so as not to disturb the bats.
Two graves were found during the excavation of the nave floor. One grave contained a skeleton in a disintegrated coffin placed inside a covered brick tomb under the floor of the Lady Chapel. The other grave and skeleton is to the east of the north door and has a domed lid. The architect was informed, photographs were taken, and an archaeologist was consulted. The archaeologist believes that the skeletons are late 18th century or early 19th century. Neither grave has a memorial stone. It was decided to leave the skeletons in situ and to cover the graves up again. The photographs and the exact position of the graves will be recorded and stored in the church archives.
Excavation of the Nave Floor
The excavation has not been held back following the discovery of the bats or the skeletons, and has now been completed. It has also revealed the work carried out in the 1890‘s to stabilise the nave pillars when the church was closed to insert new hard stone pillars and cement added to the sub floor and foundations. A small amount of work will be carried out to further stabilise the structure but there is no indication of major problems. This will be followed by laying the floor and the pipe work for the heating system.
The under floor heating will have two gas boilers installed in the vestry. The church has accepted a quotation from Southern Gas contractors to install gas pipe work from the mains in Church Road. This work will commence shortly.
Revd. Paul Ginever
19th August 2010