Essential repairs needed at 13th century Norwich church

Investigative work being carried out at St George Church, Tombland. Architect David Bonner checks th

Investigative work being carried out at St George Church, Tombland. Architect David Bonner checks the wall behind the flints of the porch. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Essential repairs are set to be carried out at a 13th century church in the heart of historic Norwich, thanks to £7,700 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

St George, Tombland, underwent extensive restoration work last year, but during the course of the work unexpected problems were discovered that needed immediate attention, which meant the original work programme could not be completed.

Extra work will now be carried out at the church's south-western window, the stairway turret, which leads to the church offices, and the south porch.

Structural engineer Shaun Long and church architect David Bonner were both at the church yesterday to investigate whether more repairs were needed as part of the work.

Paul Dennis, one of the churchwardens, said: 'Last year we did a lot of restoration work thanks partly to an English Heritage grant. But during the course of that work, it was discovered that the wooden support to the roof was rotten, and had to be replaced with stone corbels.

'It meant that money to replace the stone work at the south-western window, which is in a dreadful state of repair, was diverted to fix the corbels. The new grant from the HLF will help conserve the south porch, south-western window and stairway turret.'

He said that if the stone work continued to decay and no repairs were carried out, the south-western window could fall out.

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Church architect David Bonner said work on site would start in September and be completed before Christmas.

He said: 'Work will be carried out at the entrance arch to the porch and the parvis window above it, which will both be cleaned.

'Stone work at the stairway turret to the roof will be repaired. Stone work at the south-western window will also be repaired and it will be reglazed.'

Mr Long, structural engineer with Rossi Long Consulting in Norwich, said: 'Today we're just investigating to see where the problems are and if there are more that need fixing.'

Following this restoration work, the church will get a revamp to improve the visitor experience, with display boards showing some of the building's heritage, as well as a new children's guide and activity to increase engagement with the wider community.

The church building dates from the 13th century and is open on certain days throughout the week to welcome visitors.

A sung mass is held every Sunday, with a said mass on Fridays and saints' days as well as healing and meditation services in certain weeks. The Revd. Canon John Minns, Priest-in-Charge, said he was delighted with the HLF money.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: 'This is an historic and well-used church in the centre of the city.'

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