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Restoring St. Mary's

For the past few years there has been a project to make improvements to, and repair and restore St. Mary’s. In 2004-5, after many fund raising activities, the first phase of the project was undertaken, at a cost of £112,000.

All the old and dangerous electrical wiring and installations were removed. New power circuits were installed to provide all possible requirements for all imaginable activities, especially music. New lighting was installed which has greatly enhanced St. Mary’s and increased the lighting levels to improve matters for the visually impaired. The old oil-fuelled heating boiler was replaced by a much more efficient gas-condensing boiler. Much high-level pipework was replaced by low-level piping to improve visual aesthetics and conserve heat. A disabled toilet was installed in the tower. The tower arch was screened in with oak and glass to provide privacy and a vestry. A kitchen range was installed in the south aisle. This should encourage more activity groups and wider social amenity. The bell frame was strengthened and stabilised. The bells and clock were renovated, repaired and restored. The roof was repaired at the junction of the tower with the nave, making it water tight.

For a detailed narrative of how the work was carried out click here.

The excavations in the tower to provide the toilet led to the discovery of the remains of an Anglo Saxon Church under the Norman walls (see picture to right). The remains have been well documented by Dr. David Andrews before building work continued. This confirms the long-held belief that there was a Church in North Stifford before the Norman Conquest (we are in the Domesday Book) – Christians have worshipped here for more than a thousand years.

This project would not have been completed were it not for the grants that were received from Cleanaway Mardyke Trust, Wren and the Friends of Essex Churches. We are extremely grateful for all their help and support in seeing the first half of this project to completion. It could not have been managed without the support from them and all the other organisations that contributed, albeit to a lesser extent, but nonetheless important for their encouragement.

There is more still to be done and our efforts are continuing. The Friends of St. Mary’s will welcome any offers of help to the project. Membership is £10 per person, £15 per family or £100 for life membership. Personal help with committee or fund raising activities will also be gratefully received. Please contact Jill Rogers 01375 373345.

We are extremely grateful for the support provided by Cleanaway Mardyke Trust, Friend s of Essex Churches and WREN which have contributed to the restoration of St Mary's Church:

St. Cedd's Sunday Services - 10:30 am

1st Sunday: Family Worship

2nd Sunday: Holy Communion

3rd Sunday: Morning Worship

4th Sunday: Holy Communion

5th Sunday: Evening Praise and Celebration#

# 6.30pm. No morning service on this Sunday of the month

St. Mary's Sunday Services - 11:15 am

1st Sunday: Holy Communion*

2nd Sunday: Morning Prayer

3rd Sunday: Holy Communion

4th Sunday: Family Worship

5th Sunday: Parish Family Communion

* 6:30 pm (4 pm during Winter month). No morning service on this Sunday of the month