All Saints’ Church Lych Gates
Many villagers will be aware that many years ago the church had gates beneath the lychgate entrance to the churchyard. Some more recent residents to the village may not even have realised that there had ever been any gates since they had been removed approximately 8 years ago because they were beginning to disintegrate. This was not surprising since they were probably over 100 years old.
Following the 2015 quinquennial inspection by our architect when the missing gates were highlighted in his report, a project was initiated in 2016 to replace the gates. Christopher Vaughan and Helen MacMaster began with a survey by photographing and measuring what remained of the old gates. Helen then produced some drawings to record as far as possible their original structure. Christopher salvaged most of the ironmongery.
In 2017, the Parish Council gave a Community Grant of £500 which was sufficient to place an order for the timber and lengthy negotiations with the Diocese began to obtain the necessary permission to replace the gates. Helen was required to use her draughtswoman skills to produce detailed drawings and specifications. The proposed new gates were carefully designed to respect the style of the old gates and incorporate the retained ironmongery to maintain as much historical continuity as was practical. Permission was finally granted in April 2020.
Christopher was able to arrange the purchase of the timber at a generous discounted price from Moss & Co (Hammersmith) Ltd and he transported the timber from London. He enlisted the help of Jon Hing, a retired cabinet maker, and between them they constructed new gates. Christopher also negotiated a discounted supply of paint from Johnson Paints of Newbury and Helen and he spent many hours applying several coats of paint to the gates and the posts of the lychgate.
The gates were hung and Ven. Christine Allsopp blessed them following the Communion Service on Sunday, June 27th. Small gifts of appreciation were presented to Christopher, Helen, and Jon with thanks from All Saints’ Church.
Although this project has taken five years to complete, it has been achieved without cost to the church. It serves as a great example of the teamwork and dedication of the volunteers who have given their time and expertise to restore part of the heritage of the village in a way that will be long-lasting. The church is extremely grateful to them and it is hoped that the village community will appreciate the gates for many, many years to come.