The Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels is a mediaeval building dating from the 12th century and expanded in the 14th and 15th centuries. It was re-ordered in the 1820s which left the mediaeval building largely intact, but added a small cramped vestry, hiding a fine 14th century effigy of a knight.
The overall cost of the project would have been in the region of £400,000 The generous grant of £12,000 from OHCT who committed support early proved to be an important pump-primer. Thanks to the generosity and support of Nicholas Johnson, who arranged for the donation of the stone amongst other help, the costs were kept down. We also benefited from the skilled advice of a structural engineer, who is a member of the congregation.
The project for a new vestry was for a separate building to the north side of the church utilising the existing north door, to accommodate a new vestry, two toilets, a storage area and a room for flower arrangers with a sink and water.
The result is a modest stone building to the north – construction started just before the first lockdown in March 2020. Due to the isolated location and primarily outdoor construction, work continued throughout the year and was completed in April 2021.
The exterior is constructed of local ironstone with a rusticated base and ashlar stone above. The roof which is surrounded by a stone pediment is zinc, but not visible from ground level. The new vestry is linked to the church by a glass atrium, with gently sloping ramps allowing step-free access, which was not possible from the main South door. The old wooden north door was retained.
The interior of the new building has a wide corridor and a large window looking out over the churchyard and gives views over the valley beyond. Off the corridor are the two toilets, flower room and storage space, with a door to the vestry, which contains storage for vestments, secure storage for valuable items and adequate room for small group meetings and/or Sunday School.
In the church, the old vestry has been cleared and the room can be re-purposed as a prayer space, and the C14th knight’s effigy can be now be properly viewed. Old cupboards have been removed and the church de-cluttered.
The vestry was blessed and inaugurated at a special service in May 2021 by Revd Ginny Thomas, who had done so much to bring the project to fruition.