Patron – The Princess Royal

EXCITING NEWS: The Princess Royal, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, has princessroyalaccepted our invitation to be patron to the Minchinhampton Fundraising Appeal for the building works necessary at Minchinhampton Church. Those who receive the Minchinhampton magazine will find there is a letter from me launching the 6 P’s Appeal: Protecting the Past, Preserving the Present, Planning for Posterity. Please put Friday 4th November 7pm in your diary when we will be launching the Appeal with a party in the Porch Room at Minchinhampton Church! We can tell you about some of the wonderful events we also have planned for over this next year! Everyone who receives and reads the Amberley magazine – please know you are also all welcome, and can pick up leaflets for more information from Minchinhampton Church.
(Published in the Minchinhampton Parish Magazine, November 2016)

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6P’s Update – January 2018

An update on the financial progress of the 6Ps Appeal

Protecting the Past, Preserving the Present, Planning for Posterity.

By the time you read this all our services will be taking place back in our Church and we will have been able to see the excellent progress that has been made in implementing Phase One of the re-ordering process. It seems therefore to be an appropriate time to review where we are in our fundraising campaign and to assess what more we have to do to achieve our objective of “Protecting the Past, Preserving the Present and Planning for Posterity”.

Much of the first two has been done and more will follow in the New Year. In our original article we anticipated the overall estimate would be in the region of £1.25 million. Once we have firm estimates for the further stages it looks as if the overall cost may well be close to that figure, despite the fact that we have encountered problems along the way that have added unforeseen amounts to the total. We must congratulate and thank the many people involved on the project for the great way that many difficulties have been faced and solved.

Turning to the fundraising itself the grand total promised is almost exactly £700.000 and is very close to covering all of the first phase. Obviously we were so fortunate to have a wonderful start with the generous donation from the David Thomas Trust but an additional £300,000 has been raised from-other trusts, local companies, fundraising events and individual donations. The latter item accounts for well over £100,000 of which a significant proportion has come from members of the community in addition to Church members. We are so grateful to both groups of people particularly as it emphasises that this is a community project and not solely a matter for the Church. We are also so thankful to all those who have organised events of all sizes, and local companies for their generosity.

We now have to turn our attention to financing the remaining work for the first two phases and tackling the third phase” Planning for Posterity”. We have run a campaign within a campaign to obtain donations for the chairs. This has been very rewarding in that approximately two thirds of the cost has been contributed and it is our hope that we can continue to fund the rest in a similar manner particularly as it gives people the opportunity to both commemorate events and remember those people significant in their lives.

The remaining items identified at the start of our campaign are as follows :

1 A more welcoming entry

2 New Sound system

3.Lady Chapel Chairs.

4 Lighting

5.Nave Altar and dais

6.Organ.

We are in the process of refining the original estimates for this work which can be carried out as we raise the additional funds. Some, such as the organ-the most expensive-will become projects in themselves, and there are different trusts that can be approached for funding. Many as a principle require us to match their donations so we will need to continue our various fundraising activities as vigorously as before. At the same time some of these specific items may attract donors who have a particular interest in one or other of them.

As has been previously noted we have already done extremely well in a relatively short space of time. Once we have completed the new entry system the disruptive work will be finished and we will be able to benefit from everything we have so far achieved. That, we hope, will give us the impetus to go on and finish what we are sure will stand for many years to come as a magnificent achievement.

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6P’s Update – November 2017

And we’re still on for Advent!
The original programme left us two weeks to clear up before Advent. The unexpected need to remove asbestos took three weeks we weren’t expecting, but our architect, builder, archaeologist, structural engineer and under-floor heating experts have worked hard for us – thanks to them we are still on time.

Protecting the Past
All our experts and building team have been trying to understand the role that the big water tank under the sacristy plays in our overall drainage of the north side of the church. Recent rains have shown that rainwater drains in to it at one side, and drains out of it on the other. This is not instantaneous, so the tank acts as a holding tank while the water finds a way out, emptying and filling the tank. Chiz the archaeologist has duly donned his long breather (he’s suitably qualified) and been lowered in to investigate (upside down!). The tank has been shown to be in good condition, so it has been “closed-up” with a new manhole on top. This allows the floor to be laid, the heating installed, and the sacristy can then be fitted out.

We’re a little further back on drainage in the middle of the nave. The drain laid by the Georgians or Victorians, which was found to be broken under the middle of the nave and has therefore been a major cause of dampness in the church. It has now been replaced north-south right across the nave by a modern uPVC drainpipe, in a single run. This needs to be connected to the gutters and drainpipes to the north, and this is in progress. Rebuilding the outflow to the south, though, has yet to be finalized – there is a helpful gradient downwards, but the outflow path through the graveyard will need much thought and sensitivity because it is, after all, a graveyard.

As part of the current programme we are replacing the 28-year-old old technology boiler (condemned by the asbestos people) with two modern condensing ones, operating in tandem as recommended by the heating engineers. The flue has been troublesome, though – the old one needs replacing, but its tortuous path through the building caused the engineers in the past to choose to join and fix it to the masonry in an unhelpful way. Our engineers have therefore had to erect a scaffold to take the old liner out, and put a new one in – you can see the scaffold to the right of the main door. We are trying to take this opportunity, of having a scaffold in the right place, to install some ventilation into the roof-space over the nave, since that has been shown to generate very high temperatures and humidities in summer, bad for the softwood trusses which hold the roof up.

Preserving the Present
We have been involved in digging out the foundations, putting in place specifically-designed reinforced concrete “panels” to protect sensitive areas, building up with hardcore, then RFG (recycled foamed glass) to allow the area to breathe, laying a small particle slate layer over a geotextile to create an absolutely flat surface (checked by laser) and finally laying “Fermacell” boards to act as a base for our under-floor heating. This essentially completes the foundations for the floor, which runs, flat , throughout the nave, lower chancel, sacristy and choir vestry. This base will then be used to build up the heating layers, with a terra-cotta tile top layer, which will be the floor used during Advent. The final limestone tiles will be laid early in 2018.

You have seen the chairs that we will use in December – 40 have already been delivered to the Porch Room. By end-November, we will have a total of 300. They will be used throughout, including the choir, but the choir will need a stand in front of them, to read the music, and to store the amazing amount that they carry round with them. Stands are currently being made by a local craftsman – we think that you will like them.

We have decided to take our time in moving the rood screen, and building a storage unit outside the north door, near the kitchen (largely for storing the staging). Those changes will now happen in Advent/New Year. The rood screen, in particular, needs to be measured and moved by a specialist, and the Diocesan Advisory Committee (and us) will need to be satisfied that we are treating one of the treasures of our church with the respect that it deserves.

So, we will have our church back in the first few days of December. The church itself can celebrate Christmas, and there are also a number of choral concerts planned – the Stuart Singers and Cappella Singers, in particular. One thing worries the Building Team, though – please, ladies, don’t wear stilettos to the church in Advent and Christmas! – it might just test the terra-cotta layer to destruction!

Structure below the terra-cotta

In the New Year, and potentially up to Easter, we will be laying the final limestone layer, on top of the terra-cotta. The stone we plan to use will be two different stone qualities from a quarry in Ancaster, Lincolnshire. This is not as strange as it might appear, as the limestone there is the same seam as the Cotswolds, but that seam goes underground through the home counties, and reappears in Lincolnshire. The advantage is that the limestone there is much harder, and more suitable for floors. There are two similar qualities in the same quarry – one buff, one blue, but not so different as their names might suggest. We intend to use a combination – mainly buff, but with patterns picked out in the blue. A similar effect was used in the re-ordering project in Holy Trinity, Bradford-on-Avon:

Planning for Posterity
We have been more successful than many churches which have undertaken re-ordering projects, in raising the finance. The David Thomas Trust, a series of other trusts, and very generous donations from individuals or groups have got us to a state where we can be confident that we will complete the project in its minimum form. However, we have always talked about a “Stage 1” which includes the various storage cupboards, and makes a more attractive entrance, with glass doors and roof-light, and which doesn’t lead you directly into the kitchen and loos. The Building Team are still working on this, and would welcome further donations where they can be afforded, whether for chairs, or more generally.
Meanwhile, think of the future. There are several other areas that we ought to consider, but can we just mention one – acoustics and audio-visual. Acousticians did an early survey in 2015, showing that the acoustics were on the resonant side – good for music, but less good for speech – and variable in different parts of the church (Why can’t you appreciate concerts so well if you are in some specific places well away from the stage?). However, they could not measure the need properly until we had a new floor, and knew how it would be furnished, how the organ sounded, etc. After Easter, we can re-measure. Then, we can decide what we need to do: do we need baffles, sound-deadening drapes in specific places, redesign of the organ grille in the north aisle, etc?. Then we can really decide the best way forward for acoustics, and what we need as the best audio-visual system for the future.

Following Progress.
We are fortunate in having a splendid web-site, and last month we referred you for an archaeological viewpoint to Chiz Harward’s blog. You may also know that Alan Vaughan is videoing progress, in a stop-frame video, and we shall be looking at how that can be shared more widely when we have reached a suitable point.

Howard Browning and Mandy Jutsum, Churchwardens

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6P’s Update

How are we doing? The 6P’s campaign – protecting the past, preserving the present, planning for posterity.

The main news is that we’re still on schedule for Advent!

A great deal has been achieved since 29th August when work began on the church so much so that we felt it important to share developments with all of you who have and are supporting the 6P’s campaign.

Protecting the past:

Chiz Harward, the archeologist, has been investigating the uncovered floor area left by the Victorians which has all been documented and recorded for a final report. His blog at http://urban-archaeology.blogspot.co.uk). or through the church website www.minchchurch.org.uk makes for fascinating reading. Selected artifacts are taken for careful analysis, dating, photographing and eventual storage. One of particular importance is the “Mason’s setting out drawing inscribed on a limestone slab, the drawing appears to match the finished tracery of the side windows of the mid 14th century south transept.” The hope is that this will eventually be on display in the church. Prior to building up the floor, the architect, archeologist, structural engineer and builder have been collaborating very closely to ensure that tombs and graves in the floor are protected whilst a firm base is developed over them on which the floor and heating system can be installed. The Past is being Protected.

The pews have mostly been re-housed locally including 26 in Minchinhampton Rugby Club changing rooms! We’ve asked people to send us photos of their relocated pews for the scrap book.

Preserving the Present Water water everywhere! You will be familiar with the extremely high levels of damp in the building recorded over the last couple of years. Of the contributory factors there are two recent discoveries:

  1. a blocked drainage culvert found running under the church which, it has been decided, will act as a useful route for rainwater disposal from the north to the south side of church. The disposal of rain water from the north side of the building has been a problem under discussion for some time now; the culvert provides a neat and cost effective solution which does not involve any additional digging into sensitive areas. Left unattended this blocked drain would probably have eventually led to the collapse of the stone floor above it.
  2. a cistern has been discovered under the sacristy. This will be drained and safely investigated towards the best solution.

October and November will see the building up of the floor and the installation by Jupiter of the new heating system. The layers of material under the stone floor will include a substantial amount of insulation to ensure the effectiveness of the system. The terracotta tiles, which go on top of the heating pipes, will assist in providing the radiant type of heat recommended for the preservation of ancient buildings. All of this will contribute to reducing the extreme dampness and the damage to the fabric that this has been happening: preserving both past and present.

Planning for Posterity

The Architect, Antony Feltham King and Nick Miles, the builder, are in close liaison with the Church Wardens and Building Group. Applications for grants are ongoing. With the new more welcoming entrance porch in mind, Fund raising continues, overseen by the Fund Raising Group, but in some cases instigated independently by interested people: the (shared with Horsfall House) Open Gardens in July raised £1,275 for the church; yoga classes on Monday afternoons continue and have now raised nearly £1,000; promises from the promises Auction are still being fulfilled. Other events include the Rectory tea in July which raised £483 whilst future events include: a coffee morning (cake and bacon butties) on Saturday 18th November 10.30 – 12 noon; a wine/cheese tasting evening in January/February 2018; the possibility of a medieval banquet later in 2018 when we’re back on our feet!

The Porch room currently hosts 40 of the 300 new chairs with the rest due to be delivered at the end of November including the recommended 5% of chairs with arms. Sponsorship has been received for 150 chairs 64 with plaques. The chair sponsorship campaign has been taken out to local businesses and organisations with some success. Much discussion has gone into the design of the choir stands with Chris Thompson, a well known local furniture maker. At £835 each, they accommodate two people, will be movable, oak laminated and with the Holy Trinity sign, so apparent throughout the church and church yard, being carved on the front. The prototype looks very beautiful. Sponsorship for two choir stands has been received and more is hoped for.

We will be back in church during December, albeit with a red terracotta floor: the beautiful limestone flooring, again with the pattern of the Holy Trinity inlaid into it, will be laid early next year: the church gradually returning to normal ready for Easter. Following this: a dedication service and celebratory party is planned; weddings are being booked and requests for the church as a concert venue are coming in. There is much to look forward to: the planning for posterity has only just begun!

Thank you again to all who have supported the 6P’s campaign. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any queries. Updates will continue to be given on the church website, in the Parish Magazine, and in the weekly church news (green sheet). The last two can be collected from the Porch room at almost any time along with the 6P’s campaign leaflets (yellow); chair sponsorship forms and reordering gift aid envelopes (white). These items are all on top of the cupboards at the back of the Porch room for people to help themselves.  

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The Theo Chair

The Victorian Society recently commended ‘the Parish for its choice of Theo replacement chairs’- if you would like to sponsor a chair(s) in memory of a loved one, to mark a special occasion or simply contribute towards chair(s) pick up a leaflet at the back of church or download one by clicking on the image below.  Talk to the church wardens: Howard or Mandy.

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Fund Raising Concert – 1 April

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Auction of Promises

A full list of Promises can be viewed on the Church website

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Six Ps Update 12 November 2016

sixpsupdate121116

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Christmas Nearly New Sale – 19 November

nearlynewsale

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Launch Party

6pcheesewine

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