Plans for the Reordering of Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton
June 2011 Church User Group Survey. 41 different user groups surveyed, a strong majority favouring widening of use and the creation of a more flexible space. Church members less conservative in their opinion than non-church attendees. The results of the user group survey were reported on and the report made freely available.
2012 to 2013 kitchen upgraded to a commercial kitchen. Toilets upgraded and a toilet for people with disabilities installed.
15th September 2012 Graham Dowding, Rose window repair estimated costs £78,000 to £103,000 plus VAT
2013 February/March legacy of £400,000 received from the David Thomas Trust specified for the reordering fund.
June 2013 the Rector, Chris Collingwood, moved to York Minster. Reordering discussions put on hold during the vacancy.
March 2014. A new Rector, Helen Bailey, was appointed. Reordering discussions re-commenced.
2014 Church wardens, Howard Browning, Mandy Jutsum with David Goldsmith (user survey and engineer involved in the kitchen and toilet changes) started visits to other churches and reporting back on other examples of reordering they had visited. Ongoing examination of the pros and cons and how they would apply to Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton.
July 2014 Regeneration Partnership, an Architectural Consultancy firm, appointed to undertake the measurement and analysis of the building physics following advice from Howard’s brother, John Browning, an architect. The approach of looking at all possibilities, the wider picture was established. Ongoing consultation established with the Diocesan Advisory Council (DAC). A stage of assessing the major requirements initiated – essentially RIBA stage 0. Humidity/temperature profiles, structural engineering, acoustical profile and organ all assessed.
16th to 18th January 2015 Revd. Richard Giles, author of ‘Pitching the Tent’, an open session for the congregation Saturday, preaching 10 am service Sunday. Ninety people attended, written feedback was invited and forty responses were received and a summary report produced and made freely available following the event.
24th February 2015 the ‘Reordering Project’ team (Building Group) were appointed by the Rector with PCC approval to “facilitate the process” consisting of the church wardens, Howard Browning and Mandy Jutsum plus David Goldsmith, Brian Gabbett, Mary Codling, with Pat Swift available for consultation. Group members: 3 engineers and one chemist with experience as leaders of industry managing large scale projects in the UK and across the world; a college lecturer and a school teacher/ex chair of Governors. Katie Jarvis had agreed to act as publicity consultant. The commissioning of the energy audit was proposed and agreed to by the PCC using the David Thomas Trust Fund. The Building Group to apply for grants having devised a shortlist of 30 from the Diocesan list of grant awarding bodies.
14th March 2015 church attendees consultation session with group discussions and feedback led by the Rector. The meeting agenda was drawn from the report on the feedback after the Richard Giles event. 83 people attended. A written report summarising discussions was made freely available.
24th March 2015 Architect selection process underway. 6 architects selected from a potential list of 14. Building Group reps. visited all six in their places of work to see examples of their work and develop a shortlist of 3 for interview.
27th April 2015 architect interviews and selection approved by the PCC. Two architects predicted April 2017 as the earliest time for work to start.
2nd June 2015 Acoustics’ report and further test work on heat and moisture transport. How much heat loss is there? The result: surprisingly little for this type of building.
6th June 2015 community consultation event.
October 2015 Organ Options Appraisal William McVicker. The question of moving the organ back to a balcony at the West end was eliminated. McVicker suggested a time scale of 5 to 6 years before urgent repair work must be done. Mechanical organs last 100’s of years, electronic perhaps 10 to 15.
24th November 2015 project presentation to PCC by Howard Browning summarising the building physics findings, costs, architect’s appointment and work, funding and project timing.
26th January 2016 PCC approved initial plans presented by Antony Feltham-King, the architect. These were on display at the community consultation day on March 5th
3rd March 2016 Environmental Condition Assessment (Energy audit) report published. Extremely high levels of humidity, up to 85% to 90%, especially in the Lady Chapel. Major implications for the fabric. Became the main justification for replacing the floor and installing the Jupiter under floor heating system which uses terracotta tiles to radiate the heat. Potential reasons for damp explored by the building group prior to the community consultation.
5th March 2016 Community Consultation. A sample of the Jupiter heating system on display with a rep. in attendance; potential new chairs to try out and architect’s plans on three boards; a display of information and photos illustrating previous reordering. Building group on hand to answer questions. Attendees were invited to comment on the plans using post it notes which were used to inform the planning.
24th May 2016 Faculty process: Statement of Need required by the DAC approved by the PCC
28th June 2016 PCC agreed the Architect’s Design statement which the DAC circulated to the six statutory consultees: the Victorian Society; the Twentieth Century Society, Historic England, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Church Building Council, English Heritage plus Stroud District Council on anything effecting the external appearance.
26th July 2016 first meeting of the Fund Raising group to focus on fund raising activities including chair sponsorship
18th September 2016 PCC approval of the archaeologist’s digging of trial pits to examine what is under the floor and to estimate how much archaeological work may be needed. Potential start day for the work moved to August 2017. The church to be available for Christmas and Easter.
23rd October 2016 the Rector’s sermon focus on reordering.
4th November 2016 party to launch the 6Ps appeal. 2,000 letters sent out to households in the Parish. HRH Princess Anne has agreed to be Patron. On going ‘choice of chair’ consultations, PCC asked to vote on the two.
17th February 2017 HRH the Princess Royal and Sir Tim Laurence visit and meet representatives of local organisations and groups. Widening communication of the detail of the plans across the town and community.
March 2017 Architect issued a more detailed reordering design statement including a consultation response matrix as a part of the Faculty application process.
May 2017 a £50,000 grant from GET had time limit. The start of the draw down of money no later than August 2017 and completed by February 2018.
July 2017 the Chancellor, a High Court Judge, who makes the final decisions for the DAC agreed to the Faculty, allowing physical work to start.
25th July 2017 Nick Miles appointment as builder approved by the PCC.
21st August 2017 work commenced with three weeks of unexpected asbestos removal. Church closed, Porch room remained open, weekly and 8am Sunday services continued in this location. The 10am Sunday service held in the school hall.
9th to 15th September church completely cleared and pews removed/sold. Many ended up at the local Rugby club and others to local families including Gatcombe Park.
September. Floor taken up and two weeks of archaeological investigation of the remains of the medieval church below. Notable finds:
October onwards protecting the medieval graves, insulating and levelling the floor and laying the different parts of the heating system with terracotta tiles on top. Reinforcing the bases of four of the columns, rectifying the broken drain and removing the pond in the middle of the church; improved drainage north and south side; and other repair and renovation work cellar, vestries, electrics and sound cabling. Installation of the new boilers.
December 11th the church is reopened for Advent and Christmas with a terracotta floor.
January 2018. The main church building is closed again during the week for the laying of the stone floor, continued electrical, heating and repair work.
April 27th 2018 Service of Dedication taken by the Bishop Rachel Treweek in the presence of HRH the Princess Royal and Sir Tim Laurence.
May/June/July 2018 ongoing work to complete replacement cupboards, the electrical rewiring and investigation of a new sound system, detailed design for the entrance porch and permissions needed from Stroud District Council.
Detail of many of the above events including the Faculty Application and all related documents (200 pages worth) can be seen following this timeline. Articles appear in reverse order.
The Church Wardens 08/08/18
Reordering of the church building, stage 1 is largely completed and the church reopened. A Service of Thanksgiving and Re-dedication conducted by The Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Ann, The Princess Royal takes place. Photographs taken at the event can be found here.
The stone masons have returned to lay the floor in the Lady Chapel. As much as possible of this will be the original stone from the Lady Chapel and nave. Nick Miles’s team are working on the floors in the sacristy and choir vestry. The choir vestry wall has been cleaned of mould and re-pointed. The dado panels will now be repaired and refurbished: the nave is almost completed!
The Font and Baptistry
As part of the current re-ordering work, the font is to be re-located at the back of the nave and on the centre line of the church; a number of people have asked why the font is not remaining in its original position and this article sets out to explain the issues from both a design and a liturgical point of view.
Completion is happening! The Rood Screen is now finished having had all of the top carvings replaced. Also the chancel floor which is looking very good with the insertion of tiles to match the Victorian originals. The Trinity sign on the stone floor is now in place as work progresses down the middle of the nave. The under floor heating is laid in four sections in the nave. It has to remain off in the areas where stone has just recently been laid allowing for natural drying out. Thank you to the weekly dusters and hooverers and to everyone for your ongoing support.
The Rood Screen has been successfully moved to its new home in the Lady Chapel Arch: a perfect fit. The stone floor is progressing across the nave: drying out is taking time especially where the stones are laid on lime crete for ease of access. The stone floor has two layers of sealant with grouting in between. Work has now started on laying the matching tiles in the chancel: it is hard to tell the new tiles from the old. They are looking very beautiful. The under floor heating is laid in four sections in the nave. At least one section will be on each week and more as the work progresses. Thank you to the people who are or have offered to help with dusting and hoovering each week and thank you for everyone for your patience.
Any visitor to Holy Trinity, who has any knowledge of the church, will undoubtedly see that the chancel screen has moved. Why? The reasons go back quite a long way, and it might be better to start from the beginning. As you probably know, the C14th church was extensively “remodelled” by the Victorians. They wanted more of a feeling of space, since the congregation at the time was over 450 on Sunday mornings services, though there were in those days upper galleries along the north and south aisles. They engaged an architect, and started a major re-ordering. Our recent one pales into insignificance, since they knocked down all of the nave and chancel, leaving only the transepts standing, bankrolled by the patron of the time, David Ricardo (he of the four-stroke engine fame, later the basis of most modern cars). They did, of course, run out of money, and the later stages were to a lower standard.
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.
The final delivery of Chairs and Choir Stands is due at the end November. 100 chairs at £200 each have received sponsorship, 200 more to go! The choir stands, of which there are 12, accommodate 2 people each and cost £812-50. Four have already received sponsorship just 8 more to go. The choir stands have been specially made by Chris Thompson, a local furniture designer. They are made of oak, to blend with the Theo chair, and have been designed to reflect different shapes within the church, such as the arches and the 'sign of the trinity': this sign will also be picked up in the nave with darker stone in the new floor.
Chair sponsorship forms and reordering gift aid forms, which can be marked 'for a choir stand,' are on the shelf at the back of the Porch room. any queries please do let us know.
With kind regards from the Church Wardens, Howard Browning and Mandy Jutsum
The foundations for the nave and chancel are now complete and consistent in timing with the church being back in use for Advent. Essentially, the church has now been handed over to Jupiter to start on installation of the under-floor system, but still under Nick Miles’ overall management. A geotextile membrane has been installed, and Jupiter have laid a layer of crushed slate on top of it, to give a flat surface on which to lay “Fermacell” boards, stapled together to give a base for further work. The “flatness” has been established using the state-of-the-art laser device that you may have seen. Overall this gives a floor that the workmen can walk on to install heating, electrical and instrument connections, before laying the final parts of the heating system.
Mandy and Howard, Church Wardens
The main part of the floor base has now been built up. The reinforced concrete panels specified by the structural engineer have been constructed, and the other areas of the nave built up with hardcore. This last week has seen the last part of the base going in – the RFG, reinforced foamed glass, plus a geotextile layer. That means we are now in shape to start on the Jupiter system: installation of high-performance insulation layers, which will lead later to under-floor heating pipes and the terra-cotta layer which will be the surface we will have over Advent. Final limestone flooring will be laid early in 2018. Inevitably, a building project like this throws up something unexpected. In our case, it is largely about water: how to drain the surprising cistern under the sacristy and reroute the water that has been filling it, how to feed and drain the new rainwater pipe under the nave – improvements that have probably been needed since 1842, and have probably led to the high humidities we have experienced! To keep us occupied, we are also trying to find the best way to renew the flue from the cellar, and confirm what boilers are needed to feed it.
Mandy and Howard, Church Wardens
The work consists of replacing the current wooden floor and pews and installing a new stone floor at one level throughout the main body of the church to provide a flexible space and improved disabled access, together with installing under-floor heating and a modern heating system. The work is due to be completed by February 2018.
Church wardens Mandy Jutsum and Howard Browning said: “The clergy and congregation are delighted to have been awarded a grant of £50,000 towards the re-ordering of Holy Trinity.”
“This will enable the church space (the largest meeting space in the parish) to be much more flexible in the type and size of events that can take place in the church and will be able to offer the facilities to the whole community.
“The Victorian pews, which were of low quality when installed and have gradually deteriorated since, will be replaced by specially-designed, award-winning chairs which will again enhance the flexibility of the new layout.”
The work, which has just started, is now on target for completion in February 2018. The works programme will however allow the church to be fully used over the Advent and Christmas period, with the final floor finish being laid shortly after.
Thanks to The Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, other trusts and the generosity of many individuals in the community we are making this long-anticipated project a reality.
Over the last 12 months, close to £1.5 million has been awarded to community projects in Gloucestershire by the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust.
The Gloucestershire Environmental Trust is unable to accept new applications for funding between now and its closure in 2019, with all anticipated Landfill Community Fund income
allocated to projects. For more information visit http://ge-trust.org.uk/
Today at our excavation at Holy Trinity church Minchinhampton we have found this beautifully carved architectural fragment. It is probably from a crocketed pinnacle and may be from a tomb, or decorated wall niche. Similar crocketed pinnacles can be seen on the mid 14th century tomb in the south transept.
Finding tiny fragments like this will allow us to reconstruct aspects of the medieval church that were destroyed during the Reformation, by Puritans, accidental damage or by the Victorian rebuilding.
Chiz Harward BA MCIfA Urban Archaeology