Category Archives: St Helen’s Church

Staining the stairs of St Helen’s Church

Clara and Jim staining the splats on the landing of the Church's staircase.

Clara and Jim staining the splats on the landing of the Church’s staircase.

Yesterday, Jim, John and Clara were experimenting with getting the right historic colour on the staining of the Church’s staircase. Often the Georgians stained cheaper hardwood with a reddish dark brown colour to mimic the appearance of fashionable mahogany.  We think we’ve nearly found the right colour!

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Reg tests out the new mounting block at St Helen’s Church

Now all Reg needs is a horse!

Now all Reg needs is a horse!

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Objects for the interior of St Helen’s Church

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The team sitting on one of the chancel pews.

While the lime plaster inside the Church dries, the Team have been sourcing collections to dress the interior.

These include two pews that have been reconditioned by the joiners and will be going into the Church’s chancel. Characteristically uncomfortable to stop you falling asleep during services, the most ancient of the two probably dates from the early 1700s.

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We’ve also been experimenting with how to hang our Belgium chandeliers, which will be used to authentically illuminate the Church with candle light.

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Work St Helen’s steps up (again)

Reg and Clara on the steps of St Helen's.

Reg and Clara on the steps of St Helen’s.

Paul and Cos have been working hard to complete the grand entrance way to the churchyard of St Helen’s. The huge stone gate posts and their flanking walls are now in place. Soon the reclaimed Georgian gate will be hung and a specially made wrought iron handrail installed.

Sketch for the design of the wrought iron handrails that will be made by heritage blacksmith Andy Basnett.

Sketch for the design of the wrought iron handrails that will be made by heritage blacksmith Andy Basnett.

The reclaimed Georgian gates.

The reclaimed Georgian gates.

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The interior of St Helen’s Church

The bell hanging in the belfry.

The bell hanging in the belfry.

Today, was an exciting day at St Helen’s Church as the two ancient bells were finally installed into the bell frames of the belfry. They will soon be set up with ropes and pulleys, so that the sound of bells ringing from the tower will be heard for the first time in half a century.

The newly hung priest's door.

The newly hung priest’s door.

 

 

 

 

The priest’s entrance in the chancel has now been hung with a reclaimed lapped oak door, complete with a iron Suffolk latch decorated with a pheasant head.

 

 

 

 

Our traditional lime plasterers from NEPR have nearly finished the top coat in the nave of the Church; gradually transforming the building’s shell.

The nearly completed plaster in the nave.

The nearly completed plaster in the nave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To help inform  us about how to interpret the inside of St Helen’s, we have looked at other contemporary churches. A couple of weeks ago, Jim and Clara visited a beautiful church in Lincolnshire. St Mary’s has Anglo Saxon origins, including an intriguing cat carving on one of its external window lintels.

St Mary's Church at Barnetby le Wold, Lincolnshire.

St Mary’s Church at Barnetby le Wold, Lincolnshire.

Like St Helen’s, St Mary’s was greatly altered in the late Georgian period, and was again changed by the Victorians. The Georgian gallery and box pews (to the rear of the church), as well as the lime-washed walls and exposed roof trusses give a real sense of how St Helen’s should appear once it is completed.

The interior of St Mary's.

The interior of St Mary’s.

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Progress at St Helen’s Church

Shaun and Dan standing on the completed staircase

Shaun and Dan standing on the completed staircase

As the weather gets warmer, work on St Helen’s is progressing fast. Shaun, Dan and Jack have now finished installing their beautifully constructed oak staircase, which makes use of some reclaimed 17th century spindles.

The oak staircase that leads to the church's gallery.

The oak staircase that leads to the church’s gallery.

Our lime plasterers have also been busy and the final scratch coat of plaster (made using a traditional mixture of lime, sand, water and goat hair)  is just being applied.

The final scratch coat of plaster being applied in the gallery.

The final scratch coat of plaster being applied in the gallery.

 

Outside, the front path leading to the church’s entrance has been laid and work continues on landscaping the churchyard.

The newly laid front path.

The newly laid front path.

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Work for St Helen’s Church steps up (again)

DSCN2489Shaun, Dan and Jack have just completed the beautiful oak staircase that will lead to the gallery at St Helen’s Church.

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