Here's a brief schedule of work undertaken and the related costs, including full or part contributions made by The Friends to the Parochial Church Council for the surveying, inspection and remedying of problems with the fabric of the two parish churches, plus their surrounding churchyards, etc.
Interspersed with these constructional elements of building repair are regular (twice a year, in early spring and late autumn) maintenance exercises - 'churchyard and church tidies', which
are more fun than a chore.
Since inception of the Friends of Clapham and Patching Churches the Friends' members have contributed £52,000 to the P.C.C. towards repairs of our two churches - £14,104 having been paid in 2015 and £8,000 in 2017.
Churchyard tidy and church clean Patching 4th February; Clapham on 11th February.
(These are now annual events.)
In February when the weather was very cold parties of Friends and villagers worked hard to remove the recurring weed growth from the churchyards, fit a cable for a porch light at Patching, paint or varnish fixtures and fittings
and make the inside of the church sparkling clean. Workers were sustained by bacon butties, hot drinks and cake.
Churchyard tidy and church cleaning resumed in Patching and Clapham in October.
Water damage to the chancel wall and stonework was discovered at Clapham church. The Friends paid for the repair.
Also the Lych Gate was repaired and repainted.
At the beginning of January during the Christmas holidays, rainwater poured down the bell tower into the church. Repairs at a cost of £4316 were completed as a matter of urgency. As there had been no opportunity to obtain a second estimate for the repair, the insurers would not fund the whole amount. The PCC requested assistance with the shortfall. The Friends made a donation
Churchyard tidy and church clean Patching in February; Clapham in February.
Churchyard tidy and church clean Patching,
12th October; Clapham, 26th October.
An average of 30 helpers came to each event.
The impact at Clapham was astonishing. Parts of the wall and graves that had been covered with brambles and ivy for decades were revealed.
The chair ensured that everyone went home in good spirits.
Churchyard tidy and church clean Patching,
14th February; Clapham, 1st March.
On 10th October at Patching Opus Stained Glass repaired the 'blown' window, made a minor repair to one west window, replaced damaged window guards to six windows, made good rusted window bars to six windows, repaired and sealed hoppers to two windows and sealed the peripheries of the two west windows. The Friends contributed £1,482.50 to the cost of the works.
Tower Stonework and Roof
In late October, Martin Sewell repaired the damaged stone string course and replaced six quoin stones to the tower at patching church.
The Friends contributed £5,653.54 to the cost.
Clapham Tower and Roof
In July the lightning conductor was realigned and the damaged belfry timbers repaired. The Friends provided £3,649.19 to the cost of repairs.
Churchyard tidy and church clean at Patching,
7th February; Clapham, 14th February.
The Friends worked hard at what have become
bi-annual churchyard tidies and church clean events at both churches. The bacon butties, sausage rolls, cakes and liquid refreshments add much to the enjoyment of the occasions.
Refurbishment of porch gates Patching
In late April a local artisan popularly known as 'Goat' made a splendid job of restoring the badly corroded porch gates at a cost of £2080.
Repair to stonework Patching
At the end of April, damaged stonework to two windows at Patching was repaired, the Friends contributing £380 to the cost.
Churchyard tidy and church clean Clapham,
24th October; Patching, 31st October.
Patching Roof Repairs
In early 2017 The Friends donated £8,000 in partnership with the Government who provided £22,200 via ‘The Listed Places of Worship Roof Grant’, towards the repair of Patching church roof. The bats are still in the church, due to the work being done at a time that would inconvenience them least.
As a first contribution to the churches' upkeep, The Friends purchased a ride-on mower plus grass collector (the last mower had been purchased in 1979), to ease the burden on
John Best who has voluntarily cut the grass at Patching Church for many years.
We facilitated the provision of water supplies to both churches; previously water for flowers, etc., had been carried up to the churches from the villages by hand!
Reinstatement of drive
to Clapham Church
Under Robin Tilley's instigation a workforce was convened, materials acquired and the drive from Church Close up to the church car park was repaired, relaid and compacted.
At Patching the SW churchyard wall and some exterior stonework was repaired at a cost of £1400, to which the Friends contributed £300.
First proposed in March 1999 by Sir Richard Best, chairman, the first work party took place at Patching on 24th April 1999, where blocked drains and eaves gutters were investigated; subsequently, the drains were professionally cleared.
Church Notice Boards
These were replaced in October 2004.
The organ at Clapham Church underwent significant and necessary repairs.
There was an early investigation of possible new heating systems to Patching Church.
Suggestions included the reinstatement of existing underfloor pipes with a new boiler and other possible schemes were discussed.
Clapham Church Path
In Summer 1997, the path around the south side of the church was reinstated and a light was provided to the main church door by John Best.
To Patching church's porch stonework and corner blocks to the chancel, were repaired at a cost of £2,330; the Friends contributed £1000.
The necessary interior redecorations were undertaken at a cost of some £8,000.
Cupboard to Electrics Meters
In July/August the rather unsightly electrics panel in the lobby to Patching church was enclosed in a purpose-built oak cupboard, and the Friends paid the £2,400 bill for this.
H&S-required 'Safety Cabling' was provided for the regular climbers who launch assaults on the two churches' bell towers!
In February many of the Friends joined work parties to assist in maintenance of the church yard at Patching. They met again at both churches in October.
A founder member of the Friends has worked many hours cleaning and refurbishing the old boiler house at Patching church. It now stores six tables which have been purchased for use of the Friends at various functions.
The appearance of the church yards has been greatly enhanced by the working parties, especially at Clapham as this was the first working party there.
Clapham Church windows
At the end of September The Friends paid for the repair of broken windows at Clapham church.
Caring for our two lovely 12th century Downland churches
THE FRIENDS OF CLAPHAM & PATCHING CHURCHES
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