Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players a grant of £183,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund last September was awarded for a major project at All Saints’ Waterden.
Together with additional generous funding of £10,000 from the Norfolk Churches Trust, £7,500 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, £3,000 from the Holkham Estate and £1,000 from the Geoffrey Watling Charity, it was possible for work to get underway last November on the new car park and in the New Year work started on the repairs to the church.
Thanks to the highly skilled contractor, Phoenix Build of Great Yarmouth, the massively experienced heritage architect, Nicholas Warns Architects, and a mild winter and dry spring, work has gone on apace.
Read on to hear all about the project but please note that the church is closed to all visitors whilst the work is underway. It is expected to have everything completed by the end of August this year.
After erecting a giant scaffolding roof over the whole of the nave, the nave roof was stripped right back, its timbers strengthened and repaired, the bell-cote made good and re-seated onto the pitch of the roof, and the tiles re-laid onto new felting and battens. So well has this work gone that the temporary roof has now been dismantled and the new roof revealed.
Whilst the roof work was being done, major remedial repairs started on the stonework and brickwork around the whole building with the ivy stripped off and lime mortar replaced. Work has now started on the porch to the north door which was in a very poor state of repair as visitors will well remember. This porch was also used as roost by the local barn owls who now have a splendid new nesting box installed, thanks to the Friends of All Saints’ Waterden, on a tree in the south of the churchyard.
A key part of the project is to make All Saints’ Waterden better known and easier to visit. A small, five place car park is being built up by the entrance to the lane on land being leased to us by the Holkham Estate at a peppercorn rent. With the help of Norfolk County Council, new signposts have been erected on the two B roads from which Waterden Lane is accessed. So, in future, no more problems about finding this very special place.
What’s left to be done?
For the first time in its 1,000 year history All Saints’ Waterden will have gutters and down-pipes, painted in a tasteful dark green, with the rain water draining away into a sophisticated underground soak away system instead of pouring straight down onto the walls. These will be installed shortly.
And, of course, there are a myriad of smaller works to be completed such as making good the ancient north and south doors, putting the bell back into working order, finishing off the car park with black park railings and a grass surface reinforced with mesh, putting up another sign at the entrance to the church in Waterden Lane, and generally tidying up and then resowing the grass around the church walls.
. . . and what’s not going to be done?
The project will secure the church’s fabric but its simple charm will remain unchanged. It currently has no electricity or water and that is how it will stay. So when you visit Waterden Church in the future you will find the same spiritual calm and peace and, unless you look very carefully, you won’t notice much change at all.