Excavation Work in the Churchyard – October 2017
For the first time in its history, St Mary’s church in the town is to be connected to the mains drainage. This is part of improvements being made inside the church to install a servery and a fully accessible toilet. The existing water supply, which supplies the heating system and an outside tap, will also be replaced.
This will require new pipes to be laid in trenches along the tarmac paths in the churchyard and across small stretches of grass. The work will start on Monday 9th October to allow pipes to be laid under part of the public footpath that runs from St Mary’s churchyard to Castle Street and this footpath will be closed to the public for the whole of the week.
It is hoped that all of the excavation work in the churchyard will be finished by the end of October. A spokesman for St Mary’s noted that a number of people drive through the churchyard each day even though the paths are not a part of the public highway. Cars should only be in the churchyard if an occupant is on church business and should be driven at a maximum of 10mph to keep pedestrians safe, including young children. During the work, there will be no access for cars through the churchyard. Special arrangements will be made for funerals and weddings and the church will be open as usual for services, visitors and private prayer.
David Tomlinson, Team Rector, noted, “We’re sorry for the disruption these developments are going to cause. If you are walking through the church grounds do stay safe, by taking extra care, especially at night, and respecting any barriers and signage. Whilst the churchyard has been closed for burials since 1857, we are concerned that this work is carried out carefully and respectfully. Therefore, we are pleased that an archaeologist will be overseeing any digging. If he has any concerns, he has the authority to pause the work and investigate further. During this phase, you are still very welcome to come to the church for worship, prayer or reflection.”
The new water supply will be run from Museum Street and will be laid by Affinity Water who are responsible for the timing of the work and minimising disruption. St Mary’s have assured the Walden Local that they will provide an update as soon as they know when this work will be carried out.
If anyone has any questions or concerns about the work being done they should ring St Mary’s Parish Office on 01799 506 024.
Progress Update – September 2017
Unfortunately, the finishing of the new welcome units has been delayed until October, all of the workmen are at Chelmsford Cathedral on the replacement of a part of the roof. So the completion date for this work has changed:
- Servery: The snagging items are nearly all completed and the final French polishing will be scheduled shortly
- Welcome units at the west door:
- Hooks need to be fitted to the pull-out units to make them safer in use and the final French polishing will then be completed
- The leaflet display stands that will be fitted on the welcome unit on both sides are being finished in Bakers’ joinery workshop.
- Welcome unit at the south door: needs adjustment to fit it to the wall and this should be done in September
- Existing magazine rack fixed to the north wall will be re-stained and refurbished to match the new cupboards underneath. Timing of this to be defined. Quotation for the work has just been agreed.
- The Servery is not connected yet to mains water nor mains drainage
- The current plan is to start to excavate the trench for these services on Mon 9th October
- This work will take 3-4 weeks and will be overseen by archeologists
- We hope to have the Servery fully connected and in use by the end of October
- The planned excavation route is shown on the plan below
As usual, if you have any questions on the ongoing work, please do not hesitate to ask me, Graham Cottam or Mike Felgate.
22 September 2017
Progress Update : Installation of the North West corner, Welcome units and South West corner.
North West corner
The new Servery, Flower Arrangers’ facilities and storage cupboards have now been completed and handed over to the Church. Click on photos to enlarge.
The Servery will be connected to water and drainage by the end of October. The current plan is to start to excavate the trench for these services on Mon 11th September. This work will take 3-4 weeks and will be overseen by archaeologists. We hope to have the Servery fully connected and in use by the end of October. The planned excavation route is shown on the plan below (click on image to enlarge).
The welcome units at the west and south doors are due to be finished during August.
South West corner
It has been decided to delay the installation of the WC, the cupboards in the south west corner and the new Bray Library until January 2018
Bakers’ stonemasons are unable to return to St Mary’s until late October and following a recommendation from the Churchwardens, the PCC agreed to delay the work until early 2018. The impact of a boarded work area in the south west corner on church activities is too great in the run up to and over Christmas.
24 August 2017
Progress Update : Installation of the New Servery
In my update in the July Parish News, I finished by stating “not long after you read this, the current work inside the church will be finished and available for us all to see”. Unfortunately, a few days later we came across a few hitches and delays and our contractors are now targeting Thursday 27th July for completion of the Servery and removal of the hoarding. So, what’s been going on?
A problem with the locks on nearly all of the doors on the Servery meant that these doors had to be returned to the joinery workshop in Danbury and partially remade. The doors started to be delivered back to the church in w/c 10th July. All of this repair work was done at no cost to us. Secondly, the worktop in the Servery is slate and it needs to be cut, for the sinks and taps, by a specialist company who cannot deliver the worktop to St Mary’s until Tuesday 18th July. This is 3-4 weeks later than originally planned.
Good progress is being made on other aspects and the plumbing within the Servery is beginning to take shape and a good amount of the electrical installation has already been completed. By early August, i.e. by the time you read this, the Servery should have been unveiled for us all to see. However, the Servery will not be connected to mains water and drainage at this time.
The applications to connect to our existing water supply at the Museum Street entrance to the churchyard and to excavate part of the footpath from the churchyard to Castle Street are now being processed by Affinity Water and Essex Highways respectively. Subject to the timing of these approvals, we are planning to start the excavation work in the churchyard in mid September. This work will take 3-4 weeks and we hope to be able to start using the Servery in the second half of October. The excavation work will involve digging a trench along the roadway to the south and west of the church. More details on this work, and how best to access the church on weekdays when this digging is being done, will be given in the Grapevine and on the display in church before the work starts. We do not expect there to be any restrictions to access the church at weekends.
We have asked the contractors to prioritise the completion of the Servery and the dismantling of the hoarding. They still have some final finishing to complete on the welcome units at the west end of the nave, including the installation of leaflet displays against the pillars on either side of the nave. As I write, the new welcome unit at the south door just needs to be stained to match the rest of the new furniture and will be installed in the church in late July or early August. Once this is all done, with the exception of the excavation work, this first phase will be completed.
As before, if you have any questions on the ongoing work, please do not hesitate to ask me, Graham Cottam or Mike Felgate.
Steve Hasler: 11th July
Progress Update: Installation of the New Servery
The Servery furniture is taking shape behind the boarded-off work area. Most of it has been delivered and it is carefully being installed. At today’s date, the full height storage cupboard to the left of the servery is in place and the bottom doors of the servery itself have been hung. Hanging the doors has been a complex activity requiring a great deal of thought and attention to detail. The floor-stones in St Mary’s provide, due to their age and nature, an uneven surface and if the carcass of the cabinet holding the hinge side of the door and the upright at the open end of the door are on slightly different levels, the door does not hang straight. This is corrected by lifting one side of the cabinet. However, as there are 5 doors in a row, adjusting each one affects the one next to it. Get the first two doors aligned and the third may need levelling such that it impacts the first two and so on! After a lot of painstaking work, the doors now look very good and the servery is coming together well.
A lot of discussion has been required during the last 2-3 weeks to ensure that we have sufficient electrical supply to the north-west corner to power the equipment to be installed. This includes a dishwasher, an instantaneous electric water heater, a boiling water tap and a refrigerator. Now that a solution has been found the electrical installation can be completed. Next will be the fitting of the slate worktop followed by the plumbing. Bakers estimate the work will be completed by Friday 7th or 14th July, which is 1-2 weeks later than originally planned mainly due to the work required to fit the servery together on our floor as noted above.
Progress has also been made with Anglian Water (AWA) to agree how we will connect into the mains drainage and we have approval to do this without digging up Church Street, which will avoid a lot of disruption to the town. We will connect into the existing drain from the Verger’s cottage. Affinity Water (AFW) have informally advised us that we can extend the existing water supply to the church, which feeds the tap outside of the South Chapel, and do not need to run a new supply from Church Street. We await the formal paperwork to confirm this. Based on all of this we would hope to excavate the trench for the water and drains starting in mid August, subject to an approval needed from Essex Highways to dig up the footpath that leads to Castle Street from the churchyard.
Not long after you read this, the current work inside the church will be finished and available for us all to see. It is estimated that the work in the south-west corner will start at the beginning of September with the hoarding being re-erected there in the second half of August.
As before, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me, Graham Cottam or Mike Felgate.
Steve Hasler: 11th June 2017
Progress Update: Installation of the New Servery
The floor in the north-west corner of the church, behind the hoarding, has now been completely re-laid and it is ready to receive the new joinery. Existing cracks in a few of the
ledger stones opened up as they were moved, this was expected, and these have been refilled. Two of the stones that have been moved used to have brasses in them, many years ago, and these
indentations have been re-filled with the stones in their new positions. Bakers, our contractors, have moved York stones that used to be in the north aisle to be against the west wall and the whole floor has been re-laid to a high quality.
make adjustments and by the time you read this the welcome furniture on both sides of the nave at the back will be in place. If you haven’t looked closely, I urge you to do so, the joinery is superb quality, made in England with English oak by local craftsmen!
The new cupboards that will go under the existing magazine display unit against the north wall have also been delivered and these are now being installed. The Servery furniture is due to be delivered on Thursday 18th May and so it will have been with us for a few weeks by the time you read this article. Initially, the structural carcass will be put in place and the required electrical and plumbing work carried out, e.g. to install power sockets for the dishwasher, ‘fridge and coffee machines. Then the worktop, sinks, doors and shelving will be installed. There’s still quite a lot of work to do and we expect all of the work in the north-west corner to finish by the end of June.
Unfortunately, as reported in the May Parish News, the Servery will not be connected to the mains drainage and water supply when it is completed. Our Architect and Structural Engineer have been talking to Anglian Water (AWA) and Affinity Water (AFW) to decide where we will connect to their services. We are seeking to avoid digging in Church Street, which will require permission to close the road and set up diversions in the town. We have been told that this will cost about £10,000 before we start to dig! We are making progress and should have an agreed approach in the next week or two.
As before, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me, Graham Cottam or Mike Felgate.
Steve Hasler – 12th May 2017
Update on Grants Received May 2017
We gratefully acknowledge grants from these supporters:
All Churches Trust: £3,500
Friends of Essex Churches: £25,000
Friends of St Mary’s: £26,000
Laing Trust: £5,000
Garfield Weston Trust: £10,000
Denis Tindley 16th May 2017
Progress Update: Installation of the New Servery
As I write this update, the hoarding is in place in the north west corner of the church and is about to be painted and adorned with displays of Saffron Walden and St Mary’s. The work-space that Bakers, our contractors, have screened off is large to enclose the existing and future positions of the ledger stones that are to be moved. Work on the lifting of the first stone will start on Thursday 16th March and by the time you read this “update” quite a few of them should have been moved. Please keep looking at the display in church to see photographs of the work that is being done.
Much of the work that Bakers are progressing at present is the manufacture of the new joinery in their workshop in Danbury. Graham Cottam and Mike Felgate visited the workshop on Monday 6th March and were impressed by the craftsmanship that they saw. Much of the present work is to manufacture the new welcome furniture, which will be installed at the west end of the nave and next to the south, glass door. It is quite likely that these items will be the first that we’ll see installed in St Mary’s possibly in April, or maybe one of the units may have appeared by the time that you read this.
With respect to connecting to the mains drainage and the mains water supply, these applications have now been made to Anglian Water and Affinity Water respectively and we have obtained much more information on the likely timings of these works. As reported in the March Parish News, Anglian Water will take up to 12 weeks to approve the “application to connect” and to tell us where we can link into the mains drainage. Only once this approval has been received can we apply to Essex County Council Highways Department to dig up Church Path and, possibly, Church Street to lay the pipework. This means that we won’t be connected to the drainage and water supply services until the late summer or early autumn and the new servery will be in place for a few months before we can connect it up and fully use it. However, any excavation work in Church Street will require the road to be closed and will be highly disruptive to the traffic flow in the town. For this reason we’re aiming to have this work done in August during the school holidays, although we are entirely dependent on the speed with which the various authorities process our applications. I’m sure that it is disappointing to read that we’ll have to wait a few more months before the servery can be used but I hope you’ll agree that, having started this project in 2009, another few months are justified by considering the impact on the wider community.
As mentioned earlier, there is now much more information on display at the back of church and we will strive to keep this as current as possible. As ever, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me, Graham Cottam or Mike Felgate.
Mid May 2017 – summary of work done on servery and cupboards in north west corner and improved welcome areas
Mid May update – progress on site to date
All of the floor stones in the North West corner have been re-laid (see photo)
Existing cracks and in-fills in the ledger stones, where brasses would have been in the past, have been restored in their new positions
Water and waste pipes have been installed through the west wall of the church
Electrical conduit has been laid under the floor to allow power to be supplied to the new welcome unit which will be on the north side, at the top of the steps, at the west end of the church
Mid May update on progress on joinery to date The following items are being installed:
Welcome unit on the south side at the west end of the church – a superb piece of joinery (see photo)
The new cupboards under the magazine display on the North wall (see photo)
The Welcome Unit on the north side at the west end will be installed later in May
The joinery for the Servery starts to be delivered on Thu 18th May
Fitting out of the electrics and plumbing can then Start
Mid May update – connecting the water & waste The approvals to connect required from Affinity Water and Anglian Water are being progressed
Various options where we might connect, which avoid excavating in Church Street, are being considered by our Structural Engineer
Cost to close Church Street and divert traffic would be over £10,000!
What is being discussed is where we connect, NOT whether we can
This means that the new Servery will not be connected until late summer or early autumn
Work on the West End of St Mary’s Church:
The PCC at its December meeting unanimously approved the appointment of Bakers of Danbury as contractors. Diocesan approval was given early in January.
The work will be carried out in 3 phases:
- North west corner – servery and flower arrangers’ cupboard
- West and South doors – welcomers’ furniture
- South west corner – accessible WC, children’s area and Bray library
Work on the first two phases has now commenced with works on the north west corner. We expect all three phases to be completed by the end of November 2017
Access for services will be maintained at all times, and details of the work being undertaken will be posted on boards in the church
The Conservators’ report states that: “the monument to Thomas Audley is of outstanding national importance on several different levels: due to the importance of Thomas Audley’s place in history; due to it being a known work of Cornelius Harman; as a work of art in its own right; and due to its association with Audley End House.”
The report emphasises that conservation work needs to be carried out in any case, and that relocation to the east end of the north aisle is feasible. The report will be fed into discussions on the Saffron Walden Project with interested heritage bodies in the town.
Thank you for your generosity. We have submitted a number of grant applications and will continue to organise a number of fund raising events. Please support these events and give generously. To make a donation please use one of the yellow envelopes from the pews and mark it ‘Building Fund’ and place it in the blue safe at the west door, or click the donate button on the right..
If you are a UK taxpayer, we can claim Gift Aid of 25p in every £1 you donate, whether as a single gift or by standing order.
Please continue to pray for the success of our building project
God our Father, we give You thanks for our church building and the way it speaks of You. We thank You for the generosity and care of past generations, who have maintained and improved it. Please help us to be wise stewards of this great building, so that it may continue to reflect Your glory and provide a warm welcome, appropriate to this day and age, for all who come through its doors. We pray for the successful completion of our building and heating projects, to Your praise and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Do talk to any of the Buildings Project Team if you want to comment or discuss further: Graham Cottam, Mike Felgate, Bron Ferland, Paula Griffiths, Steve Hasler, Diana Hoy, Denis Tindley, or David Tomlinson.
Further detail on the Installation of the New Servery and WC
The work on the next phase of our Heating and Buildings Project starts on Monday 6th March 2017.
Approval was given on 5th January to install the new servery and cupboards in the northwest corner, the new welcome furniture at the west and south doors and the new accessible WC, cupboards and Bray Library in the southwest corner of St Mary’s. The main contractors for the work, Bakers of Danbury, were chosen in November and they will start on Monday 6th March.
Bakers will start in the northwest corner and their first task is to relocate some ledger stones in the floor. During w/c 6th March, they will erect screening around their work area. At the time of writing, we do not know how far the screens will extend towards the Clergy Vestry, we are meeting with Bakers on 22nd February to understand and agree this. Access inside the screens will be for Bakers’ staff and those managing the work from St Mary’s, our architects and our project manager (aka our Quantity Surveyor) only. The work in this corner of the church will continue until the middle to end of May.
Activities which currently take place in the north west corner will be relocated, e.g. coffee after the 10 a.m. services, prayer ministry during the first Sunday 10 a.m. Holy Communion service, brass cleaning on a Wednesday morning. Please read the Grapevine and noticeboard at the back of church carefully and regularly for more details on this and other changes during the building work.
The overall programme of work will take until approximately November. The new welcome furniture will start to be installed after Easter and the screens will be moved to the south west corner of church for the work on the WC etc. at some point in July or August. From late February, there will be a display in church, updated frequently, which will give much more information on progress and what is happening next. Please do watch out for this and regular monthly Parish News articles.
During the work we will be connecting the church to the mains water supply and the main sewers. This will require a trench to be excavated in the roadway around the west end of church down to the nearest connection point. We believe this to be in Church Path or Church Street, however this needs to be confirmed by Anglian Water, which takes 10-12 weeks. Once we have more information, we will let everyone know when this work will be done, it is unlikely to take place before the second half of May, and what it will mean for access to the church and parish rooms during the week.
Finally, we do not intend to move any services from the church, all will take place as normal with the contractors stopping work or working quietly. However, the contractors will use the roadway down the south side of church for their vehicles during the week and they will have a storage compound in this area also. We are not planning for there to be work at weekends and the church should be fully accessible then. By the time that you read this, there should be much more information on display at the back of church. Also, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me, Graham Cottam or Mike Felgate.
Steve Hasler: 10th February 2017
Removal of some pews at the back of the church and their replacement with chairs
8 half-pews, 4 in the north west corner and 4 in the south west corner of St Mary’s have been removed and replaced with 40 oak chairs to give increased flexibility in the use of the space, e.g. the chairs in the south west corner can be turned to face the font for baptisms, whereas the existing pews face the wrong way. We have also removed 2 half-pews on the south side of the nave, in front of the heater on that side, to create a space within the main body of the congregation for users of wheelchairs and motorised buggies.
The 40 new chairs, at a cost of £220 each, have been sponsored by members of the congregation in memory of loved ones and each bears a plaque to indicate this. The chairs are made of oak with seagrass seats as per this illustration.