The roof weighs 14 ½ tons and the four pillars are each strong enough to take 6 tons. The beams in the roof are often 1 foot by one foot and some run the entire length of the building – 50 ft. Curved beams follow the shape of the dome, selected from suitably shaped branches. Many of the beams are pegged together and some people suggest that shipwrights built that part of the structure.
The church and school rooms are inspected every 5 years. In the 2009 survey the inner faces of the church roof, the school room roof and the valley between the church and the school room required significant repairs. Although the lead work had been patched over the years, it needed replacing and many of the roof tiles had delaminated and were at the end of their useful lives.
The initial cost estimates of £150,000 were beyond the resources of the church and a major fund raising programme was put in place. The English Heritage survey provided valuable into the extent of work required. As a result the cost rose to over £250,000, but praise God, all the funds were raised.
With funding in place in Summer 2014 the work began beneath a temporary scaffold roof. The repairs took over 5 months and included remedial work on the drains and the gas supply. Also the opportunity was taken to insulate the roofs of the church and school room, repair window frames and provide safer access inside the church roof.
We are grateful to all who supported this work, including:
- The congregation and friends of the Ottery St Mary United Reformed Church
Devon Historic Churches Trust
Beatrice Laing Trust
Leonard Laity Stoate Trust
Ottery St Mary Town Council
Concerts and events; The LaLa Choir, The Christian Magician’s Guild, Paul Roberts and friends, Misty Roses and friends, Ottery Community Theatre
In addition, the following made contributions: