Latest update - 07/06/24


© Nick Berry


The Tenpenny Villages Benefice of Alresford, Elmstead and Frating with Thorrington

Building Works

When you walk into St Mary’s you are I hope pleasantly surprised at the facilities that we offer and the general state of the building. There is a story behind the condition of the church today and what happened in 2011.

In 2011 we started picking up of the floor very small pieces of ceiling plaster, this at first was no big deal, but the concern grew as the size of pieces of plaster got bigger showing the laths under the plaster. The PCC asked a local builder to remove any loose and dangerous plaster it was after his report back to us. A decision was made for safety reasons to vacate the church for the village hall until we could assess what we needed to replace what was a failing ceiling, and the cost.

Finances available as at 2012 AGM were reasonable as we had raised money for a toilet and we had approx. £20 000 towards what was going to be a £25 000 spend to make this happen, any other money was needed for the everyday running of the church. One cost that we never thought about was insurance a church closed cost £4 000 a year against £1 200 for a church that was used.

The ceiling alone was not our only issue the previous quinquennial report had reported that the bell tower required attention to replace the roof lead and other work. We were looking at a spend of anywhere up to £125 000 for both problems and a toilet would be out of the question.

Having committed in 2012 to making the repairs happen the PCC ably led by Rector Pauline Scott, set about fund raising starting with the Heritage Lottery fund, having been excepted for a grant this started a two-year period of appointing an architect (April 2013), quantity surveyor, quotes from builders etc. It also allowed us to raise the shortfall between the final cost and the lottery grant.

The repairs were carried out in 2014 and we were back in the church late 2014 with the final certificate of completion awarded mid 2015 the total cost £115 452.

Buoyed up with this success we turned our attention to the toilet the cost which had risen from £25 000 to £57 000 this is another story, but we do have a toilet.

John Jinks

We are extremely grateful to all who funded this project, especially The Heritage Lottery Fund and The Garfield Western Trust. A full list of contributors is available.