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Church Restoration Project

St John Baptist Church Broughton

 Restoration Project 2006 – 2011

The Church Architect’s 2007 Quinquennial Report on Broughton St John Baptist Church, a grade II* listed building, revealed some very worrying problems with the church fabric. The roof of the Nave required urgent attention if the interior damp problems were to be solved and a great deal amount of work was required to the historic tower and the churchyard footpaths were becoming dangerous.

The ChurchLand and Buildings Committee launched an appeal to raise £150,000 over a 5 year period to support the likely cost of the restoration. The project was split into 5 phases: –

The Restoration Appeal was launched in 2006. The following year the work on the Nave Roof was completed under the supervision of the Church Architect Michael Rayner and Church Project Manager Chris Couper. Before any work could be considered inside the church the walls and ceiling had to dry out and this took over a year. The Committee decided at an early stage in the project to employ “local” contractors and Phase 1 work was carried out by J C Holden Ltd of Goosnargh at a cost of £22,777.

The Tower needed extensive repairs to roof and considerable specialist work on the stonework. This phase proved to be the most expensive and most demanding in terms of construction specialisms and the sensitive restoration of a 16th century structure. A grant from the English Heritage Lottery Fund and other sources enabled a total of £148,688 to be spent on the restoration. The work was carried out by Bullen Conservation Ltd of Oldham during 2009 – 2010.
The work on the perimeter walls and fences is ongoing this year.
The work to resurface the churchyard footpaths was carried out in two stages during 2010 and 2011. The second stage being delayed due the specific permissions being required for the relocation of gravestones, (already repositioned when the new choir vestry was constructed in the 70’s), and the installation of a ramped area for disabled access. The work was carried out by Jim Ramsbottom of Haighton at a cost of £23,687..

Once Phase 1 and 2 had been completed the Committee deemed it prudent to bring forward the redecoration of the interior of the church therefore carried this out in 2010. Following a design approved initially by the parishioners, repairs to the lime plaster walls was done by Mark Hull Ltd of Fulwood and the painting carried out by Norman J Burke Decorating Services of Broughton and Joseph Cebrero of Fulwood. The cost of this phase amounted to £24,995.

When the Restoration Appeal was closed in 2011 and a total of £207,290 had been raised through individual donations, fund-raising events, Gift Aid, recover of vat where applicable, the sale of parish recipe books, parish calendars as well as obtaining several grants. On Sunday 30th January the church held a “Big Sing” to mark the formal end to the Restoration Appeal. The congregation expressed their thanks to all the contractors, who also attended the ceremony, for their dedicated work to restore the historic building.

Over 800 years after the original simple wooden chapel had been erected on a slightly raised area of ground above Blundel Brook, the people who had inherited this sacred place and assumed its stewardship, had ensured that it would continue as place of worship for many future generations.