The storm on St Jude’s day in October 2013 caused severe damage to the church spire in Wadhurst. Not only had the shingles been removed but the entire structure to one facet was ripped away including tennoned rafters and braces leaving a gaping hole in the side of the spire.
We managed to climb inside and get above the 8 bells to the eave at over 100 feet up using harnesses and ropes to prevent falls.
From this vantage point we found further damage not visible from ground level and we immediately obtained instruction from the insurers to fully scaffold all elevations of the tower.
The scaffolding allowed access for detailed inspection and it was found that the storm had damaged the other elevations, shingles and substrate boarding. Our scaffolders had to also construct scaffolding with diminished platforms to access the internal structure of the spire.
Our carpenters completed major repairs and stabilization to the spire using new oak timbers ready to receive the new shingles. New steel fixings as well as renewing oak dowels were used. Our Heritage NVQ trained team re-shingled the entire spire using John Brash best western red V shingles fixed with silicone bronze fixings. Mitres were weathered with bitumen coated code 3 lead soakers fixed between each course.
To complete the weathering, hand formed hip sections were fixed to the broaches. Lightning conductors were fixed and tested.
The finish is complimentary to the skill our workers haven shown on this project. We truly believe that the Heritage training our workforce undertakes enables our company to be the first point of call from surveyors on projects such as this spire restoration.
Our team consisted of two carpenters, two skilled roofers and one trainee.
An unusual side event also took place during the works in that the local fire brigade used this project to train in rescue from high level which as you could imagine resulted in significant local interest from the public and media. The finished contract gives a stunning finish to the spire and will last for many years to come.