St Bartholomew’s Church has been restored to its former glory in time, and within the budget. In fact additional works have been added to the list for completion in kinder weather this spring because some savings were possible by using adapting and using existing materials. These works will include repair and replacement of stonework towards the east end of the church.
On a windy day I braved the elements suitably garbed in safety clothing and helmet, and recently climbed the ladders leading to the uppermost scaffolding layers to see for myself how works to the spire were progressing. The standard of workmanship is superb, and the shingles ensure that it will be watertight for many years to come. Some of the oak louvres are warped by the weather, and are also being replaced. A stonemason has recently inspected the soft Reigate stone blocks at the base of the spire, and repair works are the next priority, probably after the gilding of the weathercock so that it shines out over the spire. It is a heavy beast, and needs two strong men to carry it down from its lofty perch.
We found the base of the spire perforated by some perfectly round holes created by woodpeckers looking for insects in the softened timber of the shingles. New shingles should take care of that problem for some years to come.
The roof of the church has been home for Long-eared and Pippistrelle bats using the church as a sort-of Starbucks – a meeting place where they get together, but have not so far chosen to breed in. Just to be sure, an ecologist is being hired to inspect the more obscure areas of the roof with an endoscope to make sure our friends are not disturbed. No sign of breeding so far.
We are going to celebrate restoration on Sunday 2nd February 2020 with a service to bless the spire. Details are outlined elsewhere in this article of the Post. Why not come along and join us?
St Bartholomew’s Church