Roof Appeal

The Heritage of All Saints Church

It is probable that a church stood on the site of our present building at least as early as Saxon times. There is a stone pillar (a baluster mullion artefact) evidently part of the window of the early Saxon Church. It was dug up many years ago from the churchyard and is now placed inside the current church. A capitol frieze incorporated into the West wall of the vestry is also Saxon work. Of most historical significance is the churchyard cross, the shaft believed to be Saxon and was probably the baluster mullion of a window of that period, providing some hint to the existence of a pre-Norman church.

Lydiard Millicent origins go back at least as far as the Domesday Book of 1086 when there is a mention of Lydiard Manor. This was owned by the Norman Knight Geoffrey de Clinton and his descendants until 1429 when it was sold. The earliest documentary record of the building goes back to between 1066 and 1075, when William FitzOsbern (Earl of Hereford and companion of Willian the Conqueror) endowed his possessions in England, part of which was the Church of Lydiard Millicent, to the Abbey at Cormeilles which he founded.

Apart from these, little evidence exists of a building before the 14th century. Entering the church through the South porch, you arrive in the South aisle which is 14th century, recent dendrochronology dated a roof timber as being cut down in 1341 and used by 1345. Straight ahead is the oldest internal feature, the Norman font, dating from mid-12th century, which has arcade carving and a limestone bowl.

The Nave and 2/3 of the Chancel are 15th century, probably around 1457, when Turgis was granted a Royal Licence to rebuild the Parish Church and the Tower a little later. The end 1/3 of the Chancel dates back to 1870 when an extension was added, retaining the beautiful 15th century stained-glass east window.

Buckler's drawing in 1809 shows that the Chancel had only two square headed decorated windows on the south side, with a semi-circular headed Priest’s door between them (still present but filled in with stone). The Chancel was lengthened, and windows added as a result of Victorian restoration. The trussed rafter roof with moulded and transverse ribs has carved bosses at the intersections which were coloured and gilded at the 1963 restoration.

The church of Lydiard Millicent is known to have been dedicated to All Saints by 1763. There are a number of beautiful stained-glass windows especially in the chancel. The east window in the S. Aisle is a stunning piece by Margaret Edith Rope, installed in 1963.

Why the heritage of All Saints Church is considered to be at risk

A report was made by our architect, Annie Evans, on the condition of the Chancel roof in November 2016. It reads: “The Chancel roof looks good on the South, but the North Slope is very poor, with numerous tiles being shattered, particularly in an area around the centre of the slope. This has made it difficult to patch effectively. I believe that it was last reroofed in the 1960's which means it has not lasted as long as expected.

 

The Chancel roof does not appear to be leaking at present, and it is likely that the tiles are best left as they are for the present, but a vigilant eye should be kept for signs of damage on the ceiling or top of the wall and wall-plate in the north side of the Chancel. Re-roofing of the slope complete should be planned and needs to be urgent (i.e. within 2 years).”  She went on to describe the poor condition of the Nave roof which might only last 10 -20years. I have been advised to seek grant funding urgently for the Chancel roof to preserve the fabric and heritage of this wonderful active church.