Any older church or building needs regular maintenance – and this time, it was Shermanbury’s St. Giles’ roof that needed replacing. ‘Horsham stone‘, a great local traditional roofing material, is not easy to deal with though!

New Roof

The New Roof

It is also not cheap – as both the raw material, and the labour-intensive process of laying, all add to the costs. The funds have been raised by members of the congregation, by the Shermanbury Fairs of 2008 and 2010 courtesy of the Friends of St Giles’, and by a significant grant from English Heritage, have made the new roof possible.

The New Bell Tower

The New Bell Tower

The work has run almost to schedule, despite having to obtain some new oak for some areas the only became evident as the old roof came off. Other quirks that became evident were that the bell tower was ‘squint’, but indeed had been since the last time the roof was significantly rebuilt centuries ago, and would need to remain squint with this build too – evident from a north view.

Much of the project has been encouraged on by Church Warden Richard Putnam, ably assisted by treasurer Jeromy Ward, and several of the Friends of St Giles’ committee including Doug & Moira Parrott and Trevor Brown. Thanks also to the other warden, William Greenwell for putting up with the extra difficulties during the works.

Almost complete, there was a gathering just before St Giles’ Day (1 September) ‘topping out‘ the roof. Here are a couple more photos, including the building team, Rev’d Angela Martin, and local journalist Emma Osman of BN5. We think that should make the roof weather-tight for the next century and a half!

Last Few Tiles going on

The last few tiles going on

The Topping Out Ceremony

The Topping Out Ceremony