2019 Exterior repaired and re-rendered,
Repaired chancel window
ST MARY'S CHANCEL REPAIR PROJECT
The Listed Grade I Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin is a small ancient flint church, sitting within the South Downs National Park in the tiny hamlet of Upwaltham. It is a well-loved building and is visited by many walkers, cyclists and other visitors.
However, the building needed urgent repairs to its fabric and was placed on Historic England's Heritage At Risk Register. Repairs were needed to resolve the internal and external cracking to the chancel, defective chancel window and a poor rainwater disposal system.
A Round 1 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant was completed in June 2018, which enabled specific investigations into the state of the building’s fabric. In late September 2018, a Delivery phase grant was awarded. This enabled the repairs to the chancel fabric to be undertaken. The exterior cement render was removed and replaced with lime render, so that the building could breathe. Works included repairs to the chancel roof timbers, installation of a new rainwater system and the careful restoration of the defective chancel window. The repairs were all successfully in the Autumn of 2019 completed and the church can now be removed from the Heritage At Risk Register.
Chancel: removal of render revealed hidden early medieval window.
With the removal of the cement render to the chancel, the original medieval fabric was on view for the first time. The thick walls were built of large flint nodules which were set in a hard, chalky, pinkish lime mortar. A blocked up early medieval window above the altar was also revealed.
The grant-aided project also enabled other activities. A video of the exterior and interior of the church before the works were undertaken was created and can be viewed on this website (see below). A trail guide to Upwaltham's Circular Walk was planned to help walkers and is available to download from this website. A small booklet on the history and setting of the church within the valley has also been produced and is available in the church or on request by email 'Upwaltham: A Short History of a Sussex Church and its People'.
Nevertheless, there are still further repairs required. The exterior north and west walls of the building are covered with damaging cement render which needs to be removed and replaced with lime render, which will help this ancient building to 'breathe'.
The PCC are still raising funds for these repairs which will help keep the
building water and weather-tight for future generations, ensuring that visitors and users alike can continue to enjoy the building and its unique tranquil, historic setting.
If you would like to help raise funds for the church by giving a donation, please go to our Go Fund Me page:
All donations will be very gratefully received!
Updates on the project can be found on our Twitter feed.
If you would like to contact us directly, please go to our contact page.