Re-ordering of St Andrew's Church

Bookmark and Share

The Re-Ordering of St Andrew's Church

In the 1990s it became clear that the church required substantial conservation and repair work. The clergy and parish council decided to extend the scope of this task to include re-ordering and development work to make the infrastructure better suited to its modern role in the wider community.  

Over the course of some 10 years around £1.3 million was raised and spent on the project. The conservation phase was overseen by architect Charles Brown and the work was done by Eaves Sure. St. Andrew’s entrusted the development phase to a rising, young architect called Ptolemy Dean. The work was done by local builder F.W.German & Sons, led by Philip German. The twophase project included the following elements: restoration of the tower (requiring two of the tower’s massive buttresses to be completely rebuilt); clay peg tiles reinstalled on all eight roofs over the main body of the church; the lead valleys completely replaced; construction and installation of a new bell-frame along with new bells; and restoration of the ancient clock and carillon. New external floodlighting and enhancement of the churchyard was carried out and replacement of the Victorian timber floor in the nave with York stone to match the older floors. Improved entrance with provision for disabled access was added along with glazed doors to improve light levels within the church and to encourage more people to enter. Refurbishment of the St. George, St. James and Lady chapels was also undertaken.  

New Georgian-style rooms, known as “pavilions” were created at the west end of the nave to improve the range of activities that can take place in the church. New kitchen and toilet facilities were added, the drainage system was renewed and the wiring and lighting renewed throughout.   The interior was painted white except for the nave ceiling which became a dark blue inspired by the St. James’ Chapel’s star-lit blue ceiling. The interior of the church has been re-ordered to improve sight lines and allow greater participation both for worship and community events. Victorian pews have been replaced with chairs for more flexible seating.   By providing open space in the nave and the west end, St. Andrew’s has become a place of worship, gathering and celebrating for the whole town.

Apart from worship every Sunday, the building is used more and more by the whole community. Concerts, plays, art exhibitions, school events, receptions and public meetings have all been successfully held within this magnificent Grade 1 parish church, a venerable building of great charm and delight.