top of page

Church Restoration 1991 - 1992

Original Wall

The Warndon Villages housing development began in 1988, and the need for a Parish Church to minister to the growing community became clear. Warndon St.Nicholas was in a bad state of repair and in need of full restoration. English Heritage and the City Council gave the building Grade 1 listing, and with funding from English Heritage, the Diocese of Worcester and the Historic Churches Preservation Trust, the restoration began in June 1991.

All the woodwork inside the building was carefully removed, the roof was stripped, and the pebbledash taken off the walls. With this, fresh evidence of the building's history was revealed.

The foundations were found to be much older than the walls, and consisted of large river pebbles intermingled with Roman pottery. The north and south doors had been cut through the three foot thick stone walls, whereas the upper portions of the arches had been keyed into place. This showed that the original building was a low stone construction, with a wooden superstructure. Remains of arrow slit and round arch windows were found blocked up in the walls, and the position of the rood screen could be identified from the lack of paint on that section of the wall. Three levels of wall painting were discovered, and have been left exposed on the north side of the nave, near the tower.

At the east end, a door arch was found in the external stonework under the window, and after investigation, three steps were found leading down away from the building into an area surrounded by semi-circular stone foundations. Further archeological work is required to date this apsidal structure, but it is possibly Saxon in origin, and was knocked down in the 14th century and used to rebuild the chancel.

At the west end of the church, the timbers for a bell-cote were discovered in the roof, where the three medieval bells would have hung before 1542, when the half-timbered tower was built. The temporary infilling of wattle and daub can still be seen where the tower builders had moved the bell frame bodily from one part of the building to its present position.

During the restoration, a new floor was laid, electric cables incorporated into the walls, new "hand made" tiles with insulating materials were put in place on the roof. The walls were stabilized with a cement infill, and the east wall tied to the other walls by stainless steel straps. A large number of the tower timbers were replaced and the spaces between were filled with traditional horse hair and cow dung plaster. The pews were put back in place when the interior had been completed, with a slight rearrangement at the east end, to open up the area in front of the sanctuary.

Mains electricity was brought to the church for the first time in August 1993. A chamber organ built by Samuel Parsons in 1856 for a concert hall in Cheltenham has been restored and installed into the south west corner of the church.

Warndon St.Nicholas, restored and revitalized, now ministers to the spiritual and social needs of the expanding Warndon Villages development. This building, where generations have worshipped, still welcomes young and old, and continues the witness of God's love in this locality.

Door Arch
Bible and Hyms
bottom of page