Stisted: Church receives £200K to repair leaking roof turned into a ‘sieve’ by woodpeckers

All Saints Church in Stisted has been awarded a Lottery grant to replace its leaking roof. Patricia Bash, church warden, is pictured. All Saints Church in Stisted has been awarded a Lottery grant to replace its leaking roof. Patricia Bash, church warden, is pictured.

Friday, December 27, 2013
2:07 PM

A church whose leaking roof was left looking like a “sieve” thanks to woodpeckers has received a grant totalling almost £200,000 to carry out repairs.

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Damage caused by woodpeckers in the steeple roof at All Saints' Church in StistedDamage caused by woodpeckers in the steeple roof at All Saints' Church in Stisted

All Saints’ Church in Stisted, near Braintree, qualified for the money through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Grants for Places of Worship programme.

Experts awarded the funds after deciding the Grade I-listed building was in urgent need of restoration.

Woodpeckers have chipped away at the church’s spire and crows regularly nest in the bell chamber. The holes in the roof have allowed rain into the church, soaking some pews and the parishioners who sat in them.

But churchwarden Patricia Bash said plans are afoot to stop the woodpeckers wreaking such damage in the future.

“Apparently, the woodpeckers like to tap on the roof as a form of communication with each other,” she said.

“The idea is we replace the cedar roof tiles that are there at the moment with oak tiles – they are much harder and won’t get damaged so easily, and they make a different sound.

“We are delighted with the grant, as we have applied in the past and not been successful. The work is set to take place over the next two years.”

Part of the £197,000 grant will be used to educate people about the history of the 12th Century church, in particular the story of its striking stained-glass windows, which were transported from Flanders where they were made in the 16th Century.

There are also plans to enable the church to become more of a community building – it is already used for coffee mornings and by bell-ringers and a mother and toddler group.

The All Saints funding is part of a £558,500 grant recently announced by the Heritage Lottery Fund to help secure the future of seven of the East of England’s most historic churches.

Other churches in the region to receive money include Holy Trinity Church in Southchurch, Essex, (£56,000) and St Mary’s Church in Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds, (£35,900).

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