Work starts to save Warkworth church
Work is underway at one of Northumberland's most historically important churches to get it off the at-risk list.
The church of St Lawrence at Warkworth has stood at the heart of the village since the 12th Century and is a Grade I listed building.
It serves not only as a place of prayer and worship, but also as a venue for many other events in the life of the community.
But the structure of the church has been a cause for concern for some time because of its north wall, which began to move as early as the 13th Century.
By 1860, the bow in the wall was such that the beams across the nave were significantly longer in the centre than at either end.
Then by 1968 the centre of the wall was 17in out of line and in 2006 it had increased to 19in.
In 2007, St Lawrence Church was placed on the English Heritage buildings at risk register with a recommendation that remedial work should start within two years.
The parochial church council started a fundraising campaign and received grant assistance from English Heritage, which helped it meet its ÃÂ£300,000 target.
North East-based construction consultants RNJ were recently appointed as quantity surveyor for the project and the company is now leading a programme of work to secure and stabilise the wall, repair consequential damage to the interior of the church and prevent further deterioration.
Completion will permit the removal of the church from the buildings at risk register.
Reverend Canon Janet Brearley said: "This restoration is vital as the church is an essential part of the heritage and identity of the village of Warkworth, providing a familiar and reassuring landmark for residents as well as a place of peace and tranquillity for the thousands of pilgrims and visitors who come each year.
"We are delighted that the generous donations made by the local community and visitors, grant funders and benefactors from further afield will help to preserve the church for future generations."
Stephen Box, partner at RNJ, said: "St Lawrence Church is a magnificent, Grade One listed building and we are delighted to be involved in its preservation.
"RNJ's ability to provide a multi disciplinary service offers an advantage to our clients and our past experience in the historic restoration field stands us in good stead to provide consultancy services on the project."
Alongside RNJ, the project team includes CDM as co-ordinator, Spence and Dower Architects, structural engineer Patrick Parsons and local contractor, Historic Property Restoration.
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