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Fencing ‘modified’ at fire-destroyed church following reports of trespassers

PUBLISHED: 16:40 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:08 17 July 2020

A fire destroyed most of St Mary's Church in Wimbotsham.    Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

A fire destroyed most of St Mary's Church in Wimbotsham. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

A Norfolk church that was severely damaged by fire has had fencing on site “modified” following reports of trespassers.

Scene of Wimbotsham Church a day after the fire in September.  Picture: SubmittedScene of Wimbotsham Church a day after the fire in September. Picture: Submitted

St Mary’s Church in Wimbotsham remains fenced off following a blaze last September that gutted most of the church and police are said to be keeping an eye on the building after local residents alerted them to trespassing on the site last month.

Work on site had begun earlier this year to restore the church but it was brought to a halt due to the coronavirus.

Churchwardens Philip and Liz Wing said: “For much of the lockdown, the Wimbotsham Church site has remained closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

They added: “In June, there were local reports of trespassers into the site. The police were called and are keeping an eye on the building.

A fire destroyed most of St Mary's Church in Wimbotsham.  Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019A fire destroyed most of St Mary's Church in Wimbotsham. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

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“The fencing on site has also been modified to stop further intrusions. Site safety is the responsibility of the main contractor North Cambs Developments and therefore does not affect the insurance obligations of the PCC (parochial church council).”

Work is expected to resume again on Monday, July 27 with the arrival of a new bell removal team - Manta Ray, who will look at lowering three bronze bells the following week.

The 14th and 15th century bells, which are currently in the tower on a badly charred ancient wooden bell frame, will be restored at White’s of Abingdon and stored there until they can be replaced.

A fire destroyed most of St Mary's Church in Wimbotsham.    Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019A fire destroyed most of St Mary's Church in Wimbotsham. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

The churchwardens said: “Since July, work is slowly resuming. Winter weather has exposed some traces of medieval wall paintings on the west face of the chancel wall.”

“We are in contact with a conservator of wall paintings - Dr Andrea Kirkham who will report on the exposed areas. She will attend site on Monday, July 20.

“A report has been prepared by Sandberg’s - a specialist company reporting on the state of the stone dressings to arches and window mullions and also to the larger Carrstone blocks that form a large part of the wall construction, post fire.

“Core samples are to be taken away for specialist examination in the next few weeks.”


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