The 85-ft tower of medieval St Nicholas’ Church
, in the very heart of North Walsham
, has been fenced off since 2011
after large flints began to fall from it. Originally 147-ft tall, it has been in a state of ruin since it partially collapsed in 1724. There were further falls in 1835 and 1836.
Extensive scaffolding was erected last summer to enable experts to fully assess the extent of the problems, but this has now been removed. Emergency work to stop further debris falling has already taken place but long-term repairs will start on the £210,000
project on June 2
and should be completed in December
The breakthrough came when English Heritage
recently increased its grant offer to £82,000
which, added to the amount the church had already raised, was enough to enable work to be started.
Repairs by Essex-based contractors Universal Stone
would include replacing porous cement pointing with lime, removing the concrete apron at the base and installing proper drainage, and repairing the water-damaged south-aisle window. It is not planned, however, to restore the ruined tower, which has become part of the town’s identity, to its original state.
There is still a £28,000
gap in funding for the project, and churchwardens have appealed for the public to rally round by supporting a special community fundraising exhibition next month.
They are holding a money-raising 100 Years Celebration
exhibition, combining the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 with a look at what has happened in North Walsham since then. Nearly 40 local organisations and businesses will have displays highlighting landmarks in their own histories, including photos, written information, flowers, and models.
Admission to the exhibition, from June 7-9
, is free with programmes at £1 and donations invited. It will be open from 9.30am-4.30pm
on June 7 and 9
, and from 11.30am-2.30pm
on June 8
with the annual civic service at 3pm
. There will also be refreshments and a tombola. There will be a preview evening on June 6
, which will include a buffet and wine. Tickets cost £5.
On June 8
there will be an evening concert of inspirational music by Cantamus
, admission £6.
A brochure, supporting the major appeal to help raise the necessary funds to repair the tower, has been published and is available in church.
For tickets and more information, ring churchwarden Mrs Nancy Heywood
on 01603 782407
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