Following a number of delays and surprises, we are about to reach a major milestone in the project; laying of the new limecrete floor. This will mark a turning point in the project after which, the refit of that chapel will commence. To date, we have discovered marker stones which, were thought to be over graves, but a test dig revealed that the ground beneath had not been disturbed.
The two undocumented stones near the baptistry. appear to be memorials to William Harwood and his niece Elizabeth Griffiths who died in 1720 and 1721. Unfortunately, the memorial stone for Elizabeth Grifiths was broken in two prior to our discovery. Both stones will be retained in their original position and laid level with the new oak flooring to be on permanently display.
Due to the location of the stones and the proximity to the eastern wall, it was deemed too risky to extend the baptistry without compromising the stability of the wall. Therefore the church took the difficult decision to fill in the baptistry and cover over with the limecrete floor.
We still intend to perform baptisms by full immersion, but will use a portable baptistry when needed. Researching its history, it was noted that this baptistry was installed in the 1950s when the old manse in Netting Street was sold. Up to that point baptisms were carried out in the pond at the rear of the old manse!
The 20th century mortar has been raked out of the walls and replaced with traditional lime mortar which will allow the walls to “breath” again and dry out the walls. The 20th century repairs had the effect of sealing the damp in the wall.
The floor has been excavated to the correct depth and the Victorian and Georgian columns supporting the galleries have now been underpinned.
The door into the vestry has been enlarged to modern fire requirements, and a new external doorway from the vestry has been installed.
All this work has been completed in preparation for the limecrete floor to be laid. This will then require a month to cure before work can recommence on the ground floor with the refitting. Meanwhile, the loft space will be insulated and boarded and the guttering will be repaired and additional downpipes installed and new drainage will be laid, with a new compacted gravel path over.