St. Marie’s Bury wins National Lottery supportThursday 25th April 2019
The Parish of St. Marie and St. Joseph in Bury has received £214,500, a massive injection of financial support, from the newly re-titled National Lottery Heritage Fund for repairs and renewal of the lantern tower and masonry to the town’s St. Marie’s Church.
Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to remedy defects, which cause serious rainwater damage to the porch and choir area and also the church’s organ. It will also address some structural issues which could pose a risk if left, and enable the restoration of some of the finer architectural details to the tower and lantern,
In addition to achieving a long term solution to a previous cycle of defects and temporary repairs, the project aims to promote a wider community interest and engagement with the church, whilst protecting its role as town centre place of private and public worship.
In December 2017, the National Lottery awarded development funding of £35,500 to assist the parish in progressing plans to apply for substantial funding towards the costs of carrying out the delivery phase of the project.
Preparatory work, including laser mapping of the church’s structure to produce detailed architectural drawings, timber surveys, and initiatives, (including a wide community consultation), to promote greater engagement, were carried out in anticipation of the main structural work being scheduled to start in the early months of this year.
Designed by Lancashire – born architect, John Harper, (whose work also includes the former church of All Saints, Bury, and Lancaster House in London), St. Marie’s is a Grade II listed building, completed in 1842.The iconic lantern and tower is an eye- catching and prominent feature of the Bury town centre skyline.
The church, designated a ‘Gem church’ due to its location and accessibility is open daily, and used not only by its parishioners, but also by those who work in, and visit, Bury.
The work to the lantern and tower will be extensive, taking several months, and will entail them being dismantled stone by stone. Each block will be plotted and numbered, cleaned of old mortar, and then stored.
The sloping masonry pediment supporting the tower will be repointed in lime mortar and covered with sheet lead, dressed into the mortar joints, to prevent water getting in.
An internal stainless steel corset will be installed, and the rebuilt stonework of the tower and lantern will be pointed in lime mortar and tied back into that corset with stainless steel to replace all the old and rusted metal ties. The drainage to the reconstructed tower and lantern will be cleaned and improved, and finally, mist netting fitted to prevent birds gaining access.
Commenting on the award, the parish priest, Father Francis Wadsworth, said:
“We’re absolutely delighted and very grateful to have received this tremendous level of support thanks to National Lottery players. St. Marie’s is a much loved church with a long history of service to the Catholic community who live, work in, and visit Bury.
This support will help preserve the fabric of the building, and also help us to encourage more visitors to call in and enjoy a few quiet and reflective moments while learning about its history.”
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