Church gets top award

BARHAM parish church has received the prestigious John Betjeman Memorial Award for the renovation of its tower.The national award, for the renovation of church buildings, was presented by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

BARHAM parish church has received the prestigious John Betjeman Memorial Award for the renovation of its tower.

The national award, for the renovation of church buildings, was presented by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

The award was part of a series of events to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the poet and campaigner for architectural conservation, Sir John Betjeman.

Concerns had been raised as far back as 1993 by the church warden, the late John West, for the state of the tower. He measured an increasing crack in the tower battlement with the church door key.

A subsequent survey by English Heritage suggested that unless immediate repairs were made the tower could split in two.

Revd Tom Broadbent is delighted with the award and said: “It is largely thanks to the partnership of all the people who were involved, everybody worked well together and I think that's what won it.

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“Very often we think of the care of our church buildings as a bit of a burden so it is nice to know that our efforts are appreciated beyond the church itself, a great national recognition for the diocese.”

The renovation of the 14th Century tower took just over a year.

Builders used a traditional Roman technique to strengthen the fragile flint tower. Beams were meticulously built into the tower wall, one metre at a time, so that it would not collapse under its own weight.

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