St Mary's Church Tower - North Marston

The Oving stone outer face wall of the 15th century Tower of St Mary's Church in North Marston could be pulled off by the handful when we began our restoration.  The church itself dates back to the 12th century.

The work was carried out in two phases a few years apart and grant aided by English Heritage.  Also only made possible by the tireless fund raising of Nikki Day who even wrote to the Royal family to ask for support.   The top of the tower was the first phase and the second phase was the remainder to ground level. 

Concern about the condition of the tower began in earnest when church architect Pam Ward was carrying out her quinquennial inspection of this Grade I listed building.  In some places the outer face of the wall that would originally have been 200mm thick or more was just 50mm or less.  In places there was nothing left but the rubble core.  It was decided to stop ringing the bells!. 

The parapets had been rebuilt sometime in the late 18th century using iron cramps that were now causing lumps of stone to fall into the churchyard below. 

Every effort was made to try to make the rebuilt outer wall look authentically medieval, each stone that was replaced was exactly the same dimension and was hand tooled to match the original stones.  There were two new carvings done, one was a representation of John Camden Neild, a miserly parishioner who left all his money (£250,000!) to Queen Victoria instead of the people he knew in the village.  She used some of it to repair her home at Balmoral but also gave some back to the church.  The other new carving was of the sainted John Schorne whose remains are in the church. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT US ON T: 01327 349081 OR E: website@bodenandward.co.uk
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