St. Alban the Martyr

Roof Renewal Completed

18 Nov 2020 • General news

The Vicar and Churchwardens are pleased to be able to announce that the renewal of the church roof is now complete.

Churchwarden Chris Smith at the West End of the Church

We are grateful to players of The National Lottery for the grant from the Heritage Fund that has made this possible.

The Apse Roof Completed 13 November 2020

With the completion of the curved section above the Apse the whole of the high-level roof had now been renewed — Nave, Transepts, Chancel and Apse.

The East End 13 November 2020

While the Chancel and Apse were being completed the high-level scaffolding above the North and South Aisles was lowered allowing rapid tiling of the Aisle roofs. These had been prepared with new sarking and battens and covered with temporary protective boarding before the scaffolding was constructed above them to reach the Nave roof. Only a little work on the low-level rainwater goods remains before the remaining scaffolding can be removed.

The new "brown brindle" Dreadnought tiles were chosen to match the weathered appearance of the original terracotta tiles.

Old and New Roof Tiles 

The new tiles have nail holes as well as nibs, and every tile is fixed in place with stainless steel nails. This should increase the resistance of the roof to storm damage. The Victorian tiles hung from the battens by two small nibs and were originally fixed by torching — plaster or mortar on the underside — which had long since crumbled away.  

Seen from inside the Nave roof before renewal, handmade Victorian tiles (and one machine-made replacement) hang from the battens by their nibs.

The church is situated and rising ground and is very exposed to gales from the west. In recent years the Nave and South Aisle roofs had suffered repeated damage due to the wind lifting the loose tiles.

Typical Storm Damage to the Nave Roof

Storm Damage to the South Aisle Roof 23 February 2017

You can find out more about the renewal of the roof here:

Meanwhile, the work to provide wheel-chair compliant step-free access to the church and a visitor-friendly 'cloister' entrance lobby is on course to be completed by Christmas.

You can find out more about improving step-free access here:

This work was made possible by a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, for our project "Revealing St Alban's Hidden Heritage" with matching funding from our Retoration and Bequest Funds and other reserves.