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Tower Repairs

Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church was consecrated in 1839 and occupies a prominent position in the centre of Holme, a south Cumbrian village of about 1,500.  The church, which contributes greatly to the charm of the village centre, is approached along a path through an attractive garden area and over a footbridge that crosses a stream.  The building is constructed from limestone rubble with dressed window surrounds and roofs of Westmorland green slate.   The churchyard remains open for burials and many villagers have a strong connection to the church because of relatives who are buried there.  

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The Tower

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The tower has stone-dressed louvre openings and a corbelled projecting  parapet with corner pinnacles reminiscent of medieval fortified church towers.  The vestry is located on the ground floor of the tower and is used by those preparing for services as well as housing the safe, records, stacking chairs and folding tables.  The first floor of the tower houses the mechanism for the clock which (until a weight cable broke recently) was wound weekly and chimed on the hour.  There are two clock faces, situated on the north and west sides of the tower.  On the second floor there is a set of tubular bells (chimes) that sound through the louvre openings and that are rung by ropes from the frame on the first floor.

Urgent Work to the Tower and External Walls

Over the years repairs have been carried out to the tower which have included the use of 20th Century cement pointing. Pointing and flashing has failed and the poor condition of the masonry walls has led to water ingress.   As a result, the walls are damp internally and structural timbers and floorboards have rotted.

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The urgent need is to restore the fabric of the tower to prevent water ingress, and to repair the internal damage including replacing all the floors in the tower.  To carry out this work the clock needs to be removed and the clock mechanism and faces will then be restored before they are replaced.  Ventilation will be improved throughout the tower as will safety - by replacing wooden ladders and guarding clock weight drops. Up to 50% of the

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pointing on the external walls will be raked out back to sound mortar without disturbing stonework.  All the pointing on the parapet (both external and internal) will be raked out back to sound mortar.  Joints will then be repointed in hot-mixed lime mortar.

Roof, Floors and Internal Walls

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The condition of the roof will be checked and all the flashing replaced.  Roof joists will be inspected and additional joists added to support the roof if needed. All three floors in the tower are rotten and will be replaced, with new joists and floorboards fitted. Joist ends will

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be protected from any damp in the walls.  Ground floor joists will be set on concrete pads and underfloor ventilation will be included. All plaster and bitumen coating on the internal walls will be removed back to the stone.  Ground floor (vestry) walls will be replastered with hot lime.  Walls on the other two floors will be lime-washed. Plasterboard on the vestry stud walls and ceiling will be replaced and skimmed.  Vestry walls and ceiling will be painted with breathable paint and electrics will be re-instated.

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Windows and Louvres

Window frames will be repaired as necessary and trickle ventilators fitted.  The wooden louvres and their lintels are rotten and will be replaced with new louvres fitted in frames that open inwards to allow inspection and maintenance of the external surfaces.

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The Clock

The clock mechanism and faces together with the chimes will be removed by a clock specialist and restored.  When other works are complete the clock and chimes will be returned and re-fitted using stainless steel fixings to secure the refurbished clock faces.

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Safety

The unsafe wooden access ladders will be replaced with metal ladders, secured to the walls with railings and sprung gates around the hatch openings.  Clock weight falls will be guarded and floors strengthened under the sandboxes.  Lighting will be upgraded and emergency lighting fitted.

Funding the Repairs

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) have funded the initial investigative work carried out by Will Underwood Property Services in conjunction with Crosby Granger Architects.  Approval for the work has been obtained and a detailed specification has been drawn up to obtain tenders from suitable contractors. 

The PCC will contribute a further sum to the project and will ask for contributions from congregation members, the village community and local businesses.  We will also be seeking funding from a range of grant-making bodies.  The total cost of the project is expected to be at least £100,000.

The Legacy

Holy Trinity church has been cherished by the congregation and the local community and has been used regularly over the years for services and for church and community events.  These repairs are part of an ongoing commitment to safeguard the church building for future generations.  They will minimise the need for further expensive repair work to the tower for many years to come. 

Subject to funding being available, the work on the tower will be carried out in 2022.

Please consider making a gift to help us to carry out these essential repairs to the tower as part of our commitment to safeguard the church building for future generations. If you would like to make a gift please click on the "How to Give " button below.

Thank you very much,

Graham Burrows and the PCC of Holy Trinity Church