Raising the Roof

listed places of worship logo






Weekly Updates

New weekly updates on the roof works from Sue Kenyon are available from the links below:


Our newly Grade II* listed church building needs help!  

An application was made to the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repairs Fund and £53,000 was awarded.  

You can continue to support St Mary's and help us raise money simply by shopping online as you normally would via our EasyFundraising page 

Raising the Roof logo


Thornborough Fundraisers group was set up following the appeal to save the St Mary the Virgin roof.

Following a number of highly popular and successful events, enough money has been raised to support the ongoing works with funds left over to support other projects.  The group have also funded and fitted a defibrillator to the Thornborough Village Hall and is working on other worthy causes.  

The committee has also recently voted that 10% of money raised will be donated to external causes.

Please visit the Thornborough Fundraisers Facebook page to find out more about current fundraising efforts.  


Project Timeline


January 2017

Work has started... as have the new weekly updates (see above).


December 2016

St Mary’s, Thornborough PCC are pleased to announce that Vale Building Conservation Ltd. have been awarded the contract to restore the Chancel roof.  Start date is set as 16th January 2017. The work is scheduled to take 16 weeks, with extra time for lime-washing if necessary.


November 2016

So far we have received 70% of the money from the Listed Places of Worship grant for the project as a first instalment.

4 tenders have been sent to 4 companies.; however we have only received one full response, even after we granted several extension period requests.

As a consequence 3 further tenders have been sent out to other companies.

The reason for this being a condition of the grant that 3 tenders are obtained. We are hoping these will be in by the end of November


August 2016

Progress so far this month…….

  • Detailed specification of works approved by DAC
  • ‘Permission to Start’ forms completed and submitted online with hard copy sent to Grants Officer at LPoW; approval received
  • ‘Statement of Procurement’ submitted to above and approved
  • Official Tender documents sent out to 4 Building companies, return date 9th September

Next Steps...

  • Evaluate responses to tender, appoint a Builder
  • Confirm start date (September/October)

THANK YOU to everyone in the village who has helped us, through their support, to achieve this goal.


June 2016

We have just heard that we have been awarded a grant of £53,000 towards the re-roofing of the Chancel from the second round of the Government Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund Awards.

Many thanks to all who made this possible... ESPECIALLY

  • the focused, energetic, Sue Kenyon (Project Manager) and Sue Percival (whose grant application skills were fundamental)
  • Steve Coppins who always believed we could get it!
  • Charlotte Moore and the PCC
  • Ann Payne and her inspiring team of fundraisers, who galvanised us into showing the grants panel that St Mary’s is considered to be a real asset to our village.

And last but not least - a HUGE THANK-YOU to the generous and supportive THORNBOROUGH VILLAGE COMMUNITY - we could not have done it without you!



February 2016

Sadly we did not qualify for the Wren grant as they focus on community funding, and felt that the chancel as a ‘stand alone’ project did not qualify.  However our grant form filling beavers have not been inactive!

Steve Coppins, Sue Kenyon and Sue Percival have resubmitted the application for the second round of Government Listed Places of Worship roof grants.

Our application now has more up to date information, having had our investigations documented and photographed and we also have a more precise work schedule and costings.

We await the awards which are scheduled to be announced for the end of June.

A HUGE thank you for all the hard work that our trio has put into it - you should see Sue’s file!

The buildings team have also met and are discussing the next steps with regards other matters concerning the fabric of the building.

We await the second Bat survey which will be sometime in March: this is when they begin to roost for the spring.  Ray Goodger has fixed the new grills on the tower to prevent the Jackdaws nesting, thank you Ray.


January 2016

The results of the Christmas Quiz are now in:

  • First Prize:          Julie and Paul Graham
  • Second Prize:     the Chapman family
  • Lucky Number:  Marion and Robert Taylor

In the Children's quiz:

  • First Prize:       Mia Lawrence
  • Second Prize:  Lucy Findlay

The committee wishes to thank all participants for their generous support.  To check your answers to the quiz please click on the image below or select this link: Thornborough Christmas Quiz 2015

St Mary's Christmas Quiz 2016


December 2015

Since I last wrote there has at last been some visible activity.

  • Victor has had to take a back seat with Project Managing as he has taken on a new job which means he was unable to commit the time to the Chancel roof project.  We are very grateful for all the work he put into helping us get started.
  • His place as Project Manager has now been taken over by Sue Kenyon, who has experience in this field.
  • With her in post we have received the relevant permission from the Registrar and Clivedon Conservation have boarded up the windows and protected the monuments as the barrel ceiling has further signs of instability.
  • This means that if the ceiling was to fall, any sudden displacement of air will not blow the glass out of the windows, or falling masonry damage the monuments.
  • The triptych has been removed and bubble wrapped for storage, and in order to protect the main window properly we have removed the panelling that was placed in front of it.
  • This revealed the window in its entirety which I think is beautiful!
  • The application form for the Government roof repair fund was released at the beginning of December and it has to be in by the end of February.
  • The grants will be award in June. Steve Coppins and Sue Percival with the help of Sue Kenyon are already working on this.
  • In the meanwhile Sue is pressing ahead with quotes for the ongoing work, and liaising with Rupert Bursell for the various faculties.
  • Please see the photographs in the gallery in the Chancel Roof Protection album


August 2015

  • Recently we had a meeting in St Mary’s to reflect on the reports that have been submitted by the various bodies about our church roof and to plan the next step forward. In short, the investigations by the architect, the archaeologist, and the conservationist have concluded that it is unsafe and is in urgent need of repair. (Surprise!) For those of you who enjoy history, the archaeologist report makes some interesting reading.
    All reports are in the church on the bier.
  • So what now?
    • Stage 1 - The reports go to the Diocese of Oxford’s DAC (Diocesan Advisory Committee for church buildings) and, if they are happy, we will apply for a faculty from the Chancellor to undertake the following
    • Stage 2 – If the specialists agree, the next stage would be to remove the internal dangerous sections of the ceiling and to prop up the remaining structure in order to facilitate a more detailed survey of the timbers etc;

    • Stage 3 - To scaffold the external roof around the Chancel, make a temporary roof by adding containment sheeting of sufficient height to allow the work to continue in all weathers, while preventing any subsequent water/ frost damage.

    • Stage 4- To carry out timber repairs and supply riven lathes or battens onto the existing rafters before laying new hand-made clay plain tiles.  One of the most expensive items will be the scaffolding cost – which may have to be in place for 6- 9 months while the work is undertaken.

  • Grants - the good news is that we are reapplying for the Government Urgent Church Roof Repair Fund and with the new information, and Steve Coppins’ help, we hope to be successful. In the meanwhile we are looking into other grants.
  • Fundraising - Ann Payne and her team continue to work tirelessly towards raising funds, and so far monies raised are £33,845.08 (+£10,000 is promised once the works have begun) Monies spent on architect and investigation fees £3,743.64 to date (+£1548.00 invoice outstanding).  Balance £ 30,101.44 (£28,553.44) (as at July 31st)
  • Future Events
    • Rock n’ Roll night
    • Quiz Night
    • The Thornborough Story Project
    • Harvest Festival Barn Dance
  • National School Fund - we are also applying to the Church Commissioners to allow a wider remit on the use of funds given to the PCC when the Village Hall was sold to the Parish Council.
  • Finally... in the meanwhile we are drawing up a list to reorder the Nave and the Bell Tower to include Disabled Access and toilet, a small kitchen, a sound / loop system and seating, instead of the pews, to provide a flexible space.


July 2015

  • Rupert Bursell acquired the necessary permission for 3 holes to be dug in order to give the architect the information she required to see how effective the drainage system was on the north wall of the chancel
  • So with a great deal of help from Ray and Derek, we took a close look at the French drains on the north side of the Chancel to discover that they do not really exist

  • Simply inches down we remove any shingle/ chippings and within a foot we were into soil, as a result surface water on this side simply relies on the slope of the land to take it away.  Photos are shown below.

  • The drain pipe from the roof guttering at the left hand corner however is effective and does go into a proper drain which takes the water from the roof away

  •  We think what we found will be sufficient to satisfy the architects requirements and will be emailing them to her for scrutiny

          dscn2056          dscn2057 

  • Also ‘Unity’ - wonderful music festival was held at Meadow Valley Farm with an eclectic range of music from retro, to country and african drumming

  • see message from Gussie for a fuller report


June 2015

  • A day to investigate the structure of the roof and ceiling with our Architect Laurane Bubbins, an archaeologist from Albion Archaeology, and a Conservationist from Clivedon Conservationists.
  • Minsterlead roofing also provided both the scaffolding and the removing and replacing of the tiles.
  • Samples were taken to ascertain the age of the timber and the plaster from the barrel ceiling
  • Cameras recorded the interior, both looking in from the outside, and up from the inside.
  • After much discussion it was decided to look at the North side of the roof as well, and although this had been re-roofed in the 1950’s there was evidence of deterioration.
  • Once the written reports and recommendations are received we will update the information on the website.
  • There are photographs recording the day in the church and on this website.


May 2015

  • Laurane Bubbins from the Victor Farrar Partnership has been appointed as the architect for the Stage 1 investigations


March 2015

  • Government Grant for Listed Place of Worship Roof Repair Fund Awards.  
    • Oxford Diocese website has released the successful grant applications - sadly our application was not selected
    • We will be looking at other grant bodies, and who knows , we just might get a better deal!
  • The three architects (2 men and 1 woman) have now submitted their bid and a decision is to be made shortly on the appointment.


February 2015

  • The St Valentines Day Las Vegas night was held and raised around £4,500

January 2015

  • An application for a government grant to help with the roof was submitted on January 24th, the outcome will not be known until the beginning of April
  • Meanwhile we continue to prepare faculties and update the brief for the architect
  • Thanks to all the hard work of Victor and Sue Percival and the PCC

November 2014

  • John Kenyon is lime washing the wall which he plastered earlier
  • We are hopefully starting on taking down the ceiling in the new year, having got the appropriate permission, which will give us more of an idea on the state of the roof
  • 3 architects have been approached to tender for this first stage

October 2014

  • Exploration of roof damage
  • Decision to close the chancel due to unsafe structure
  • Free one hour consultation with architect

September 2014

  • Update Letter sent out
  • Q&A Letter in Church
  • Ideas Board available in Church


August 2014

  • Themometer placed in Church grounds:  £12,000 raised
  • Auction Of Promises raised £14,5000


June/July 2014

  • Donations & Standing Orders Received
  • Meeting with School
  • Meeting with DAC to sound them out on re-ordering of the Church for wider community use: they are happy to proceed


May 2014

  • Public Meeting: May 6th
  • Letters received
  • Fund Raising Committee formed