Baldock church spire restoration revealed

RESTORATION work to a historic church spire was revealed last weekend when the last piece of scaffolding was removed.

The St Mary the Virgin Church, in Baldock, had been masked for around 18 months while master craftsmen worked to replace leading and repair the deteriorating stonework high up on the tower.

Rector Rev Andrew Holford said: “I think it’s absolutely stunning.

“The total cost was going to be in the range of �400,000, it’s cost nearly double that and we have got about �150,000 to pay off.”

Work on the medieval chapel began around two years ago and cost �750,000, although some of it was funded by donations and an English Heritage Grant the church had to take out loans to the value of �150,000 to ensure its completion.

Rev Holford estimates that local people have contributed roughly �300,000 and a service of thanks giving will be held on May 8, which will be attended by the Marquess of Salisbury, local dignitaries and the Lord Bishop of St Albans.

He said: “I want to say thank you to everyone, I can’t quite believe it’s finished or that it looks so wonderful.

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“I want to invite them all on May 8 for a service of thanks giving, I want to make the point that although the works done we still have �150,000 to pay off in loans.”

The skilled craftsmen were led by Barker Associates who specialise in restoring church buildings and Rev Holford is full of praise for their work, as is the firm’s senior partner.

“We’re very pleased with the final result and the quality of the workmanship on there is magnificent,” said Chris Barker.

“We work on this sort of project a lot of time but it’s a very prestigious job and we’re pleased to be involved with it.”

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