Watlington Methodist Church, Watlington

OHCT grant: £4,000

In the Quinquennial inspection of the church in 2019 the architect noticed some water leakage and slipped slates over the worship area.  We first considered repairing the damage, but on closer inspection it was revealed that the old slates were fixed by rusting iron nails and also the slates were deteriorating.  The Church Council decided we should replace the slates over the whole of the worship area.  The church itself is Grade II listed and situated in a conservation area so we used the best Welsh slates available which were similar to the originals. Surveys had shown the roof structure was sound but the battens had to be replaced and there was no felt under the slates.

We raised over £6,500 from local people and with generous grants from OHCT, the Methodist Church and others. Using a local contractor work started in September 2020 and it was completed in November. The battens were treated timber secured with stainless nails, bat-friendly slaters’ felt was used with special air-nets fitted, and the slates were fixed with copper nails.  The ridge was lead sheeting but that has been replaced with ceramic ridge tiles and the old lead covered ventilation hood has been re-leaded.  We found three of the cast iron finials at the corners of the roof had ancient cracks in them so they were taken down and used as patterns for a local foundry to make copies in cast aluminium. All the finials were secured in position using epoxy cement.

The work was completed within budget, in a safe and timely fashion ready for us to hold our first service back in the church in December, before being closed down again after Christmas by Covid restrictions! We feel the church roof should now be good for the next 100 years.

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