Our latest conservation work: thatch under threat at Hales & Heckingham

23 Jun 2020

In our latest blog series we will be highlighting our current conservation projects. We hope you will enjoy this glimpse of the important work that goes on behind the scenes at the CCT but did you know that you could win the opportunity to experience this first-hand? We are currently running a text raffle to give the lucky winner the opportunity to explore one of our churches with our Conservation Projects Manager. Simply text CCTJUNE to 70331, to purchase a ticket for £3.

Whether you explore conservation work taking place at a recent vesting, visit one of our large regeneration projects or discover hundreds of years of history at one of our Anglo-Saxon churches it is guaranteed to be a fascinating day.

Thatch work at Hales & Heckingham

St Margaret’s in Hales, and St Gregory’s in Heckingham are both beautiful Grade I listed churches, situated just a mile apart. These two round tower churches are among the country’s finest examples of 12th century Norman construction, with breath-taking stonework and traditional thatched roofs.

Unfortunately their thatched roofs were being constantly weakened by birds, who peck away the thatch for their nests, revealing the roofs’ base boards and generally weakening the structures.

The roofs require urgent repairs or else we run the risk of rotten timbers and decays to the historic interiors through water ingress.  This would be catastrophic for both churches, but particularly St Margaret’s, which contains a number of beautiful medieval wall paintings.

A three year fundraising campaign has allowed this £25,000 project to go ahead and work will soon be taking place by a local thatcher.

The plan is to remove the existing roof ridges and netting, and refix and repair the thatch using Norfolk reed.  We’ll then fit a new wrap over the ridges, which will be cut to a traditional Norfolk pattern, and then cover the roofs in galvanized netting, which will hopefully persuade the birds to look elsewhere for their nesting materials!

You can read more about Hales & Heckingham here, and learn more about how to enter our text raffle here. By entering you will not only be in with a chance to win an exclusive tour of one of our churches, but you also help make our work possible. All proceeds will go towards maintaining and conserving more of our churches for years to come.