May 20 2013 Latest news:
By Chris Bishop
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Two of the few surviving medieval church doors in Britain have been restored to look the way they would have more than 500 years ago.
Conservationists have spent months stripping down and repainting the great oak portals of St Nicholas Chapel, in King’s Lynn.
They found flecks of red and green paint dating back to 1460, under different layers spanning the centuries since.
As well as returning the doors to their striking red and green colour scheme, experts removed and restored every single nail.
Last night the doors were officially unveiled and blessed by the Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick.
“There are very few surviving medieval doors in the whole country, so to see some restored in this was is very special indeed,” he said, as supporters crowded under umbrellas in the freezing rain.
“May they bring colour to the lives of all those who look upon them and pass through them.”
The £50,000 project is part of a major regeneration of the chapel, on St Ann’s Street, which is now owned by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT).
CCT volunteering officer Laura McLean said a lot of the stonework and features surrounding the doors would also have been brightly-coloured in medieval times.
“This is just a taste of what it might have looked like,” she said. “This is just part of a regeneration project we’re working on for the chapel.”
Alison Gifford, chair of King’s Lynn Civic Society, which donated £2,000 towards the work, said: “It’s wonderful. It looks as if that’s how it always should have been, it’s just right.”
Canon Julian Limentani, the architect who oversaw the restoration, said: “Im very pleased with the result. I’m glad everyone liked it.”
After the Bishop’s blessing, the great doors were opened and the chapel was filled by the sound of the King’s Lynn Festival Chorus.
The trust is less than £10,000 away from raising the £210,000 it needs to obtain a £1.5m lottery grant to re-roof the chapel, save its ornate carved angels and modernise its interior.
It aims to turn the towering chapel into a vibrant community centre and performance space.
Improvements planned for the chapel include new toilets and kitchen facilities, re-arranging pews, repairs to the masonry, repairs to the timber porches, solar panels, a new heating system and better lighting.
A driver had to be rescued from a river in Thetford after the Ford Focus he was travelling in came off the road.
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