Pitchford documents1937

Report by Treasure and Son Ltd to Rev A Stoke BA 25th May 1937

On July 1st 1936 Messers Treasure and Son, Ltd of Shrewsbury started work on the roof of the church. It was hoped at the time that it would be only necessary to strip off the slate, replace the decayed laths, and do a certain amount of repairs to the woodwork, afterwards refixing the old slates, and making up with new quarried ones where required.

However, when the roof was stripped, the timbers  were found to be in a very bad state, being quite inadequate to carry anything like the weight imposed upon them. This bad state was due both to the work of the death-watch beetle and small oak grub, and also to rot, caused by the roofing having being defective for years past. It was therefore decided, after consideration, to replace the existing timbers with new, using only the existing tie beams and king posts and cornices.

It was found necessary to quarry and shape a very considerable number of new slates to make up the defective ones taken from the roof, and also to make up the loss in size of the old ones, which in most cases had to be redressed and shaped and reholed.

The quarrying of the stones was a slow and costly process, as the beds of stones lay in very awkward positions, and the suitable stones were few in number, and necessitated a great amount of clearing of top material to arrive at suitable stone.

At a later date it was also necessary to replace the timbers to that portion of the roof which was tiled with ordinary Broseley tiles.

In addition, the whole of the internal plastered ceiling was renewed. 

The timbers of the Belfry were found to be in a bad condition, but, as it was possible to get to all surfaces, the affected portions were cut away and the whole was treated with a preparation to destroy and preserve against the beetle and grub. Any timber that was not weakened by decay etc, was strengthened with the best of the timber taken from the main roof. 

The whole of the new and old woodwork, including the wall plates, was treated with the preservative previously mentioned.

The roof of the heating chamber was re-tiled with new stone slates on new boards. The flue was altered, as it was found to be too close to the existing roof woodwork. Part of the iron flue pipe and bend connecting the furnace to the flue was renewed.


The coping of the two end gables was grouted and pointed up, and some stones repaired.

The wall plastering was found to be defective; this was made good at the least possible cost, by simply taking out the defective patches, replastering, and joining up to the older. This old plaster, in many places, was two inches thick. 

Finally the whole Church, walls and ceiling, was re-coloured. 

Externally, the tiling to the vestry was repaired and the eaves carried further over the walls. Gutters and down pipes were added to this small roof, and connected to two drains.

A few of the worst cracks and broken stones were made good and the buttress was wedged, pointed and grouted as it was found to be doing little work in its existing state.

All guttering was made good, and down pipes and drains cleaned out.

Extract from the account of church repairs 1937 Rev A Stokes

As soon as the shingles were removed it became apparent that damp rot and the death watch beetle had done irreparable damage to the whole fabric of the roof. The decision was accordingly taken, supported by the Diocesan Building Society, to reconstruct the entire roof as an exact replica of the old one. As about 75 per cent. of the old stone shingles were found unfit to be used again, a quarry into the Wenlock shale had to be opened on the Acton Burnell hill to obtain new stone shingles. This proved painfully costly, and our expenditure rose by steps from £600 to £800 and then to £1200. Except for the tie-beams, king posts, and the internal cornice all the timber work, both new and old, was dressed with timber preservative against future damage, and the pulpit,

panelling, and pews were similarly treated. The timbering of the chancel roof had to be made good, but the Brosley tiles on the chancel which had been substituted for stone shingles in Preb Machen's time were put back, for the additional cost of more stone shingles could not be faced. The work of re-roofing had unavoidably damaged the plaster of the walls and the whole of the interior had therefore to be replastered and redecorated. The roof of the vestry and that of the boiler-house had to be repaired, and buttresses and down pipes cried out for, and received attention.  Then, when our expenditure stood at £1211 the heating boiler burst perhaps in protest! And saddled us with another £20 of expense.

We issued a printed appeal for financial help and illustrated it with a photograph of our crusader. It was a happy thought which sent Sir John de Pitchford out on this new crusade to save the church, and the appeal brought response from many parts of the world. Moreover, we in the village (after the manner of Nehemiah when asked "For what dost thou make request?") first prayed to the God of Heaven. Our prayer has been answered, Deo Gratis

Reverend Stokes


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