Re-ordering Jan 2019

St. Mary’s Reordering

The PCC of St Mary’s is currently undertaking a Reordering process.  We’re doing this work to make the church building more usable in the 21st Century.  This is what every previous generation have done, by adapting the church building to suit their times.  We hope that this, in turn, will ensure the future of St Mary’s for the coming generations.

We’re planning to make a number of significant changes, including the provision of:

  • a servery for light refreshments
  • toilet facilities
  • a new under-floor heating system
  • tables and chairs, to supplement the pews that we will retain
  • storage spaces for spare furniture and equipment
  • a Nave altar
  • fixed display boards

We’ll be removing the rear and side pews, to allow more flexible use of the church space.  To make space for the Nave altar, we also need to remove some parts of the wall at the top of the Chancel steps.

Obviously there is a significant cost to the proposed works.  They are likely to be in the order of £250,000.  We have already raised some funds, and hope that a portion of costs will be covered by grant funding.  However, we are now in a significant fund-raising programme.  

The term Reordering is one that is used by church governing bodies.  It is a wide ranging term, which includes changes to the layout of a church, its decoration, or its furniture, fixture & fittings.

Why are we Reordering?
A number of things made us think about Reordering:

  • We started serving tea & coffee in Church after the Sunday morning service, but we didn’t have any facilities for serving refreshments;
  • Our Messy Church service grew very rapidly, and needed us to move pews and tables around for every service;
  • The Wotton Concert Series, and other events, mean we need more flexible furnishings in Church;
  • There are no toilet facilities in Church, which means that people have to trudge up to the Parish Room.
  • Our current central heating radiators are quite ineffective, meaning the little heat that they do radiate is lost.

What do we plan to do?
The plans include the provision of:

  • a servery for light refreshments.  This will primarily be used for tea & coffee after services, breakfast for Messy Church and drinks during concerts.  We will occasionally serve meals, for example at our Shrove Tuesday Pancake Party and Harvest Festival, but we’ll only be serving pre-prepared meals.
  • toilet facilities.  The plan includes two separate cubicles, one of which will have enhanced facilities, and a baby changing table.
  • a new under-floor heating system, with a replacement boiler.  By operating the underfloor system at a low, constant temperature, the new system will be more efficient and effective than the existing limited radiators.
  • tables and chairs.  When the side and rear pews have been removed, we will use stackable chairs that can be put-out as and when required.
  • storage spaces for spare furniture and equipment.  This will include space to store new chairs and tables, when not in use.
  • a Nave altar, positioned at the top of the Chancel step.  By moving the celebration of the Eucharist to the body of the congregation, the president and people will be more able to celebrate together, this was always the intention of the Prayer Book.
  • fixed display boards, to allow us to better share information and Church news.

We’ll be removing some of the rear and side pews, to allow more flexible use of the church space.  Many of our current activities, and those which we might host in the future, are constrained by the existing number and spacing of pews.  With more free space, we can easily put out tables for craft activities or for serving of food.

To allow the Nave altar, we also need to remove some parts of the wall at the top of the Chancel steps.

Programme of Reordering Events

  • 29th August 2012: An initial meeting was held, with the secretary of the Gloucester Diocesan Advisory Committee.
  • May to August 2013: The Local Ministry Team prepared a ‘Statement of Needs‘.
  • 11th September 2013: The ‘Statement of Needs‘ was presented at an open meeting.
  • January 2014: ‘Reordering Committee’ convened, as a sub-committee of the PCC
  • March 2014: The Committee visited other churches who’d recently carried out similar reordering works
  • June 2014: M+H Workshop appointed.
  • October 2014: Initial ‘thoughts’ from M+H, to the Committee
  • November 2014: First presentation of outline design, for consultation.
  • January 2015: Presentation
  • October 2015: ‘Come & Hear’ open meeting
  • We held a number of consultations, to which the whole community was invited, which allowed us to refine the design.
  • July 2016:  Faculty Petition for the works submitted to the Diocese
  • December 2017:  Faculty for the works granted by the Deputy Chancellor
  • January 2019:  Works on the first phase commence

Brief Summary of Works in St Mary’s
The whole church was by no means complete at the time of its consecration in 1283, and the current building reflects many significant changes over the centuries.

The late Georgian and Victorian vicars were among the most significant ‘reorderers’; Rev William Tattersall, Rev Benjamin Perkins and Rev Henry Sewell each instituted major programmes of works.  These works removed significant features from the older building, and adapted the Church to suit the current needs of the congregation.  Many of most important medieval features of the building were lost in the process. The current interior of the church largely dates from 1885, and there have been no significant works in the main body of the church for more than 130-years

The table below gives a brief summary of some of the most significant changes that have taken place in St Mary’s over the past 730-years.

1283         Consecration of the existing building. (The current   
building was pre-dated by a previous building. It is
thought the existing South doorway remains from
this original building)
1325 Tower stages 1 & 2 and East window complete
Late 1300's Tower completed
1400's Roof raised for Clerestory Windows; aisle windows
1500's Nave roof replaced (as remains in Sanctuary)
1626 Porch restored and Parvis Room added
1700's Nave roof replaced and raised (again)
1763 Candelabra installed (initially in Nave; later moved
to Chancel
1778         Revd William Tattersall instituted
1780 Catherine Chapel reconstructed to form vestry
1800 Plaster ceiling added to the Nave, with ribs, bosses
and three floral bosses
Galleries extended to allow the installation of the
Organ (bought in 1799 from St. Martin's in the Fields
for £200) in the tower Gallery
1805 Plaster ceilings in side Aisles added
1829         Revd Benjamin Perkins instituted
1838 Major re-ordering
Chancel arch and screens demolishes, eastern two bays
extended, raised chancel rood, Sanctuary modified
and reduced to its present form.
Three light window over the chancel arch added.
Demolished 18c 3 decker pulpit, old oak pews, mayor's
mace, royal arms

1840 Sacristy built, to NE corner
1841 New font installed (dedicated on 28th Dec); old font
sold to Leighterton
1873 Stained glass window over Sanctuary (Chancel) Arch
1881         Revd Henry Sewell instituted
1883 Chancel stained glass window added
1882-5 Major re-ordering
Organ moved to SE corner & galleries demolished. New
pulpit & lectern added, together with the low level
chancel wall and railings.
Chancel floor raised and choir stalls added.
Charity boards move to Sacristy. Current pews added.
Wall monuments moved to south wall, destroying
medieval picture of St. Christopher.

1889 West stained glass window and Catherine Chapel NW
stained glass window added
1901 Catherine Chapel W stained glass window added
1902 High alter reredos and south aisle stained glass
window added
1903         Revd Henry Sewell left
1914 North Aisle stained glass window added
1920 Catherine Chapel NE & N stained glass window added
1928 Catherine Chapel restored with widened archway
1932 Communion rails added to Sanctuary
1980's Flower cupboard built and screen to choir vestry added
1989 South Porch stained glass windows added
2009 Catherine Chapel reordered; alter moved to All Saint's