Update on the churchyard wall situation - 1st December 2013
As you may have noticed, work on the wall has stopped. There are two reasons for this.
- The lime mortar required for rebuilding the wall cannot be used in the colder weather so work will have to wait until it warms up.
- When the unsafe wall was being taken down, the builders removed an additional 5 metres of wall that they deemed unsafe and unfortunately this was not part of the original faculty. An amended faculty has been applied for to rebuild the longer length of wall and work will start when this has been received and the weather warms up.
Update on the churchyard wall situation - 1st February 2013
As produced in the February 2013 Staplehurst Parish Magazine
Many of you will be aware of the fact that on the evening of 19th August 2012 the memorial wall in the churchyard collapsed. It has been determined by various experts, including several Structural Engineers that this was most likely due to human intervention. Sadly it has still not been rebuilt due to the delicate nature of its location, the fact that obtaining the proper permissions from our Diocesan Church authorities takes time and the necessity to undertake exploratory works to establish the archaeology of the area before we can proceed further.
You will have seen that part of the wall has now been demolished and the stones put to one side to use in the eventual rebuild. A further 5 metres of wall will need to be demolished. All of the memorial plaques are being stored safely. When first section was demolished, the stonemasons were able to see that no suitable footings currently exist. This presents us with a problem. When the wall is rebuilt, today's building criteria require that suitable footings be constructed as a foundation. The Diocesan Archaeological Consultant says:
“In order to determine the likely impacts of new build some form of physical evaluation is required to determine the nature of the ground, the wall footings and the depth of the burial horizon below existing ground level.
The preferred strategy is to form the new wall without materially damaging intact burials or other archaeological remains if any exist. The first stage is to cut two or three test pits, each 1.5m square to be cut by hand against the inside face of the wall to a depth of at least 1.2m. Excavation should cease if an intact burial is encountered.”
By the time you read this, these test pits will have already been dug and hopefully we have moved on to the next stage of the process but I wanted everyone to understand why this has been necessary.
In order to rebuild we need a full Faculty which is the legal Diocesan permission required before rebuilding can take place. To date we have been working under an Emergency Faculty. Currently it is proposed that the wall is rebuilt with fairly shallow foundations and supported by a series of buttresses, the locations of which would be determined by the archaeology found by the test pits. The buttresses would be placed only on the east side of the wall. Below is a very rough drawing of the proposed configuration of both the wall and buttress construction.
Again, we wanted to be totally transparent with you regarding the rebuild. We may not like the idea of buttresses in the final build but unfortunately we will have to live with it. When rebuilding anything within a Church or Churchyard, we have to be guided by what the Diocese and the experts involved believe to be the best course of action. In this case everyone feels that to rebuild without buttresses would be unwise and we are very unlikely to obtain permission to rebuild without including them in the final configuration and consequently our Faculty request will include buttresses. Once the results from the test pits are available we will be able to proceed with the Faculty application which will begin with a Faculty Petition being displayed in the Church for a period of 28 days, hopefully with more accurate diagrams.
Should anyone have any questions or concerns regarding any of the above, please contact me on (01580) 891840.
PCC Vice Chair/Convenor Churchyard Liaison Committee
Update on the churchyard wall situation - 13th November 2012
We are very pleased to report that work has started on the wall, the first stage being to remove a stretch of the wall to expose the condition of the footings and make an assessment of it's condition.
For information the plaques have been removed and have been locked away for safe keeping until we are in a position for them to go back.
Update on the churchyard wall situation - 9th October 2012
We are very pleased to report that we have received the go ahead from our insurers to proceed with the rebuilding of the memorial wall. Initially a small section will be dismantled and removed in order to ascertain if the existing footings are suitable. Hopefully the footings will prove to be fine but if not, work will need to be suspended pending further costings from the stone masons being submitted to the insurers for approval.
All in all this is fantastic news and we hope to proceed as soon as possible.
Please continue to be aware that, this area is potentially dangerous. Persons removing any plaques from the debris, or approaching this area for any other reason, does so at their own risk.
Update on the churchyard wall situation - 1st October 2012
Many of you will be aware of the fact that one of the churchyard's original boundary walls collapsed unexpectedly in mid-August. Two structural engineers have confirmed that the damage to the wall has been caused by an external force. Subsequently the police have investigated the damage and have appealed to the public for witnesses.
At present the church is dealing with our insurers to negotiate and organise the repair of the wall. The intention is that the wall will be rebuilt subject to our pending insurance claim. Relatives have enquired about the possibility of taking their memorial plaques from the site for safe keeping. We cannot see any reason why that should not be done since all necessary photographs and investigations have been completed. We would ask anybody removing their plaques from the site to exercise caution, and be alert to the fact that the remaining wall is very fragile. Anyone removing anything from the site does so at their own risk.
If your memorial has been affected please ring the New Rectory on (01580) 891258 or email: Rev Silke Tetzlaff giving your contact details, details of the plaque and, if possible, the original position of the plaque as it appeared on the wall, as this may be helpful later on.