The Restoration Mission
Ancient stones, witnesses to our forebears’ marriages, baptisms and funerals. Privy to comings and goings of the centuries, our parish church has stood with Ulverston for over 900 years.
We can’t be the generation to let it fall into ruin.
The extent of the damage to the church has been brought to light in the most recent of our 5-yearly inspections. We have been working with local experts to put together a comprehensive plan to repair and improve the church for our community, now and for future generations. If we raise enough money to start the work soon, we would hope to finish by April 2022.
The clock is really ticking. Every winter that goes by accelerates the church’s crumbling condition. The work will cost £1.4 million, and we are already working hard to raise the money needed. But we need your help too. Could you contribute towards this restoration mission? I know that £1.4 million seems like a daunting amount, but let’s think about it stone-by-stone. For example, a gift of £25 could help to pay for a replacement stone for the tower.
It’s not really about buildings though, it’s about lives. People’s lives marked, celebrated, enriched and supported by their parish church. People cared for practically and spiritually, now and in the future.
The parish church with an open door for everyone who needs it.
Please join me in standing with our church.
Follow the link here to find our ANNUAL REPORT on the restoration project (Jan 2020 to Feb 2021).
What’s needed ?
The church is built from a combination of limestone and softer red sandstone. The inappropriate use of cement mortars is now causing much of the stonework to crumble and decay.
It was standard practice in the mid-1900s to replace lime mortar with cement. It is only over time that it has become apparent that cement pointing traps moisture and results in damage to the stone and the structure.
- To stop this, the church tower, built in the 1540s, needs repointing, stone replacement, removal of damaged plaster and internal linings, and repair of structural timbers.
- The bells in the tower have been ringing out over the town for centuries. As part of the repairs, the bell frame must be stabilised, and the bell fittings and running gear refurbished.
- The external masonry needs to be completely repointed and the gutters and downspouts need to be replaced.
Please feel free to come and look at the damage; the inside of the tower best illustrates the work needed and can be seen behind the baptismal font. On the exterior of the church you will see that much of the red sandstone has lost depth, and is now shallower than the surrounding limestone. You will also notice damp patches all over the exterior masonry where the cast-iron gutters are failing, accelerating the rotting of important structural timbers.
As part of bringing the church into the present day, the tired and tatty Parish Centre needs refurbishing to make it work harder for our community and to be accessible for all.
- We want it to become a debt-relief centre, where people can break free from debt with advice and support from Christians Against Poverty.
- We want it to be a youth hub, where our young people can meet and hang out together in safety.
- We want it to be a welcoming and vibrant place of community and celebration, where activities are held, teaching and training is given, and life’s big events can be celebrated.
We would love to hear from you if your would like to find out more about helping with the project.
Response forms are available on the printed leaflet at the back of church, or contact the church office for more information.
If you would like to give directly towards the restoration fund, you can make a donation to the church account:
Sort code: 01-08-93
Account number: 56509723
Account name: The Parish of Ulverston General Account
If you are in a position to claim back gift aid, please download a gift aid declaration, complete and return to the church office:
Treasurer, Ulverston Parish Church, 20 Church Walk, Ulverston, LA12 7EN.
THE BELL TOWER
As part of The Restoration Mission, the work to stabilise the bellframe and refurbish the bell components was completed in August 2021. The bells are now in good order for the next generation. Some additional work has been done in the tower (by DIY effort). This included renewal of the fragile floorboards in the bellchamber, strengthening of the ringing room ceiling and removal of spalled plaster on the walls. LED lighting in the ringing room now uses 100W instead of the previous 690W, a dehumidifier (with smart control) fights dampness there and a new fan draws a constant drying draught up the stairs from the crèche area. However the stonework of the tower, which dates from the 1540s, suffers from erosion as a result of moisture trapped by the cement pointing applied in the 1932 renovation. Fundraising continues for major work to replace the damaged stones and to repoint the tower with lime mortar.
Click here to view a booklet detailing the 2021 Bell Restoration Project. Navigate using bookmarks to see content.