Work starts to bring Norwich church vision alive
Work to make the church of St Peter Mancroft in Norwich city centre accessible to all and create a flexible space for worship, music, dance and drama starts on January 1, for four months.
The re-ordering follows an extensive period of consultation to agree plans that create a more flexible space whilst enhancing the beauty of this magnificent medieval church.
Interim Vicar, Revd Canon Ian Bentley said: “This project is a vital part of the developing vision of the church as it seeks to serve the current age. Our building is a beautiful historic building, but it is not a museum. It is a living and breathing part of the mission of Christ to this generation. The changes, together with the beautiful west doors, better sound and heritage offering will add to and enhance Norwich’s creative, cultural and spiritual life and strengthen our links with the wider community”.
The £220,000 scheme will see the chancel made a more accessible and flexible area by the installation of moveable stalls and a new level floor. The ‘apron’ into the nave with its ramped floor will provide much needed disabled access to the chancel so that, amongst other things, communion can be received at the altar rail, and, in addition, will provide access to the Jesus and Anne Chapels with all three floors at the same level.
An area will be opened up in the middle of the Nave to allow those in wheelchairs to be amongst the congregation, rather than on the edge. And an improved sound system will be fitted to make the church fit to attract more events and provide an accessible space that enables a wider range of worship.
During the four months, work is also expected to start on the Bell Tower. This will involve:
Creating the Mancroft Ringing Discovery Centre where members of the public will be able to come and find out more about bell ringing.
Restoring the ancient ringing room floor at a higher level in the tower than the existing ringing room in order to make space for the Discovery Centre.
Strengthening the bell frame
Other work, such as screening the tower from the church to avoid activity in the tower disturbing those using the church and vice versa.
Simon Rudd, Mancroft Appeal 300 Chairman, said: “The works starting in January represent the next exciting phase in the life of the Mancroft Appeal 300 Project. The ringers here at St Peter Mancroft, their friends, families and of course the wider community of ringers and the Mancroft church ‘family’ have worked tirelessly to bring this project to life. This, combined with the support and encouragement of the Heritage Lottery Fund who have supported this project with a £260,000 grant, mean that during 2018 a real innovation in the way ringing can be shown to the public and new ringers trained will be a reality. Our aim is for the MRDC to be a heritage and training facility for the Eastern counties. Come and see us when we open!“
While the work is underway the church will be temporarily closed to worship and services will take place in Chantry Hall, St Stephen’s Church and the Processional Way and Octagon.
Pictured above is St Peter Mancroft Church. Picture by Simon Kott.