Broadwell Village Parish Meeting
Enquiries about the Parish Meeting can be sent to the Chairman, currently Mike Hough, at :
Beckinsale. Broadwell, GL7 3QS
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Text of PDF file
The church faces two significant challenges. First, it is a large and beautiful building located
in a parish whose size has shrunk dramatically over the centuries. If we are to preserve the
church as a viable place of worship and as a significant asset for the village, we need to
broaden the range of uses to which it can be put, to preserve a space for worship and to
extend its use for serving the whole parish. This might include, for example, hosting concerts
and lectures, as well as providing a more suitable building for weddings, funerals and
baptisms. For this to happen, we need to improve its amenities. In particular, the building
urgently needs better heating, adequate kitchen facilities and toilet facilities. If these are the
preconditions for extending its use, we also need to develop the existing enthusiasm and will
in the village to make greater and more creative use of the church.
The second challenge is simpler, but also pressing. The botched rehanging of the bells at
the end of the 19th Century means that remedial work is now needed. The 2014
quinquennial review concluded that, “The iron frame is extensively corroded with cracking
and some bulging/looseness of masonry where iron beams are set into walls. The condition
of the embedded beam ends should be investigated and the ironwork and masonry
treated/repaired as required.” Simply lowering the bells, removing the frame and repairing
the tower is an option, but not one that respects the history of the building or preserves its
heritage. The need for remedial work presents an opportunity for restoring and rehanging
the bells that will both meet the obligations of conservation facing the PCC and re-establish
an amenity that has been lost to the village for a century – a fully functioning peal of bells.
There is sufficient interest within the village to assemble and train a team of bell-ringers, and
to attract ringers from neighbouring villages – several have expressed an interest in recent
In an ideal world we would hope to heat the church using renewable energy, such as a
geothermal heat pump. However the expense would be disproportionate to what we can
hope to achieve in terms of extending usage in the short term. For the present, therefore, we
have been advised that the existing system of convection and radiant heaters should be
upgraded, the latter being ‘retired’. We are in the process of commissioning a heating
advisor to provide heat loss calculations, to enable us to prepare a specification for
upgrading the heating, and then to secure three comparable quotes for the work. We are
hoping that this will cost in the region of £10,000, and that that finance for this can be
2. Kitchen and toilet facilities
There are two possible sites for these facilities, which are best located near each other, for
ease of plumbing.. Many churches have opted to use the area at the base of their belltowers
and there is space for this in our church. Alternatively the kitchen facilities could be
located in the north transept, and a toilet installed in the redundant early C20th boiler-room,
built against the east wall of the north transept. A door would be created through the rubble
wall of the north transept to provide access to the toilet. We believe that the north
transept/boiler-room option is preferable for four reasons:
1. The bell tower area is much more usable than the north transept for extra seating during
well attended services, such as weddings and funerals, and offers much better sightlines
down the nave. (The organ almost entirely blocks views of services from the north
2. Connecting to the mains sewage from the bell tower would be much more disruptive than
from the north transept, and would involve disturbing the many graves surrounding the
3. Depending on decisions about a bell-ringing chamber, the bells may be rung from the
base of the bell tower area.
4. It is a very cost-effective solution to repurpose a currently unused asset, the boiler-room.
The advice of the church architect is that high-quality oak kitchen units with sink, draining
board and oven could be installed on the north wall of the north transept behind the organ in
the north transept. He has suggested that connecting up the loo to the mains sewage from
this point would be straightforward. The old boiler room could comfortably accommodate a
loo and baby-changing facilities, with access from inside the church through a door in the
We recognise that this option involves some changes to the historic fabric of the church, as
we propose to construct of a doorway into the boiler room through the rubble wall on the
east side of the north transept. However, as we discuss in the Statement of Signficance,
there is evidence that the area of wall in question was altered when the original heating was
installed, and altered again when the heating system was removed, probably in the1960s.
Thus constructing the doorway will not involve the disturbance of previously untouched
mediaeval features. We shall be undoing much more recent infill work to this wall.
Connecting the toilet to the mains sewage system from the boiler-room appears
straightforward, avoiding the disturbance of existing graves.The cost of these works would
be in the range of £25,000 - £30,000, depending on the specification.
3. Bell Restoration
The 2014 quinquennial review concluded that repairs to the bell-frame to contain corrosion
and damage to the stonework should be done within twelve months. It also recommended
that within five years we should secure specialist inspection of the bells installation, with
advice on repairs required to bring the bells back into full use.
Our proposals are based on the combined advice that we have received from Adrian
Dempster (surveyor), the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Ringers and from three bellhanging
companies who have quoted for the work.
We have provisionally appointed Nicholson Engineering as preferred bidder amongst the
three bell-hanging contractors who submitted tenders. At £77,000 + VAT they are offering:
• To cast a sixth bell, tuned as a treble to create a set of six;
• To cast a replacement to the existing ancient 2nd bell, cast in 1350. The new 2nd
bell could be finely tuned to match the other four and the new treble.
• To rehang the old 2nd, so that it could still be rung, in an adapted part of the existing
• To include passive provision in the new frame for a further two bells, to be added to
the peal when funding permits.
There is a need for some additional local building work, preparing the site, repairing the
damage done by the existing bell frame, and part-dismantling this, and installing sound3
control. Some remedial work to the steps up the bell tower is also needed. We have
estimarted the costs of this local work at £13,000.
We are also considering creating a new ringing chamber on the first floor of the bell-tower.
This would cost around £15,000. A decision on whether to go ahead will turn on: securing
agreement from the DAC; funding; considerations of access for bell-ringers: and ensuring
that the bell-ringers have effective contact with the body of the church building.
We regard this programme as essential to the church’s survival both as a physical structure
and as a social asset. Obviously the basic structure will survive for many years – once the
repairs to the bell tower have been made – regardless of the uses to which the church is put.
But our programme is designed to extend both the uses to which it is put, to preserve a
space for worship and to extend its use for serving the whole parish.The church will then
provide a stronger focal point for the life of the village and the wider neighbourhood, and will
also generate a larger flow of income that will ensure our ability to maintain the condition of
the fabric of the building.
We already have funding for much of the work in place, and are confident that we can raise
the balance from private donations or additional grants from charitable trusts. The PCC and
others in the village have the capacity to drive the programme to a successful completion.
There is some urgency in pressing ahead with repairs to the tower, as identified by the 2014
quinquennial review, but in any case we think it important to press ahead with all elements of
the programme now, capitalising on the enthusiasm and the will that we have built to get the
work done. [We are in the process of consulting the village and other stakeholders, and the
results of this consultation will be fed into this statement of needs at a later date.]
The proposals will improve the amenities that the church can offer, and thus extend its uses,
without reducing and damaging the quality of this Grade 1 building. On the contrary, the
proposals will help provide some sort of guarantee that we can preserve those elements of
the building that we have highlighted in our Statement of Significance.
Financing the programme
We plan to finance the works for which the faculty is sought as follows:
[We are securing the services of a heating consultant recommended by the DAC, to
assess levels of heat loss, and to recommend how the heating should be upgraded.] We
hope to raise in the region of £10,000 in the first instance from charitable trusts to
upgrade the present electric heating facilities. We shall approach one or more of the
following grant-giving bodies: the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust; the Garfield
Weston Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
2. Kitchen and toilet facilities
The Trustees of the F R Goodenough Trust have made of commitment in principle of up
to £30,000, which should cover the building costs in full.
3. The bell restoration project
We need in the region of £90,000 for the first phase of this work. The trustees of the
F R Goodenough Trust have committed £60,000 to the project (or more, if the
building costs for the kitchen and toilet facilities cost less than £30,000). An
application is under consideration from the Oxfordshire Diocesan Guild of Bell
Ringers which may raise in the region of £15,000 We have been offered a small
grant of £1,700 from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers. We hope to raise
the balance from private donations, RAF Brize Norton and applications to the
Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust, the Barron Bell Trust, the Garfield Weston
Foundation or the Heritage Lottery Fund.
We shall seek to recover all VAT under the Listed Places of Worship (LPOW) scheme.
[THIS NOTE IS AN EXTRACT FROM THE PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL’S DRAFT ‘STATEMENT
OF NEED’ THAT WILL FORM PART OF THE APPLICATION TO THE DIOCESE OF OXFORD FOR
PERMISSION TO CARRY OUT WORKS.]