Priest's regret after church repairs lead to inquiry
St Mary's church,
After lead tiles were stolen from a village church three times
in one year, emergency repairs kept the downpours out – but led to
a rare ecclesiastical hearing.
Canterbury Commissary Court at St Mary’s Church, Eastry, was
told that a member of the congregation used a telephone directory
to find a builder to repair the 13th-century building after rain
was discovered pouring in on a Sunday morning in June, 2011.
A £95,000 bill for a synthetic roof alternative was paid.
Emily Shepherd, from the Canterbury diocesan press office, said
a number of heritage organisations did not regard the replacement
tiles as suitable for a historic building.
“Procedures to protect buildings in the long term were not
The two-day hearing was attended by villagers and Canon Mark
Roberts, from St Clement’s Church, Sandwich, who has been priest in
charge at Eastry for two years.
He said he did not think there had been negligence by the
Parochial Church Council in the management of the building.
Mr Roberts said: “This has all been extremely regrettable and
none of this would have happened if the church hadn’t had the three
“In hindsight it was a very bad mistake in choosing another
material for the roof. But the present covering has made the
beautiful building watertight.
“I now hope the agreed solution from the hearing will be that
the present covering will be approved, allowed to stay until it
wears out and the parish will move on.”
It is hoped a result of the two-day hearing will be known by the
end of October.
- Visit www.churchtimes.co.uk to find
out more about the Eastry hearing. Search for ‘Church roof repairs
challenged in court’
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