St Thomas' Church Porch and Bells dedication service
St Thomas Church Bradwell-on-Sea New Porch and Bells
St. Thomas the Apostle
Bradwell on Sea
On Sunday 22nd October 2017, 12.30pm
The Order for the Blessing and Dedication of the Porch Restoration
and the new and restored Bells
was conducted by
The Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell
Bishop of Chelmsford
This service was to dedicate the Church Porch restoration with its new glass doors and windows, and then dedication the two new bells and the associated restoration work on the other bells. The service was conducted by the Rt Revd Steven Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford.
The Church Porch is the conclusion of the re-ordering work first started in the year 2000. The new stone floor and glass doors, with the bronze framed windows provide a friendlier and more accessible entrance to the church that now accommodates many community as well as spiritual events. The work was designed by Hilary Brightman Architects and the work carried out by Lodge and Sons builders from Stebbing and the doors by Glass Tec Systems near Waltham Abbey.
The bell project started in 2013 when it was considered that bells needed turning due to the amount of wear they have received over the last 270 years. The bell committee bravely suggested that this also provided an opportunity to replace the two smaller bells that had been missing for over a 100 years, thus restoring the tower back to an eight-bell ring. After getting several surveys and estimates, then a year of fundraising and applying for grants, the money was available and work commenced. The work was carried out by John Taylor & Co Loughborough.
Our thanks go out to all who have worked so hard to raise funds and carry out all the work on the porch and bells projects and to all the grant organisations who have so kindly supported these projects for the benefit of our community here in Bradwell-on-Sea.
The History and Reordering of the Porch
The porch is relatively new to Bradwell as it was originally the porch to Shopland church, which was demolished in 1957. It was installed here in about 1960.
Shopland parish church, St Mary Magdalen, was a little Norman church measuring only 40 ft by 19 ft and was built around the 12th century, of rubble and limestone. It had two small windows. Hundreds of years later four more windows were made and during the 13th and 14th centuries the chancel was widened and two windows and a north door were added. In the 15th century it was widened, had a bell tower and our fine timber porch was built.
In the year 2000 our church was reordered. The scheme included the rooms at the rear of the church. Then the enclosing of the porch and the laying of the stone floor was stage two of the work, which has now been completed, the change being the glass outer doors rather than solid oak doors that were originally planned.
The project was funded by the income from a flower festival dedicated to Donna Carter, family and friends’ donations in memory of Hazel Thorpe, private donations and a grant from the Essex Community Foundation from the Bradwell Wind Farm to facilitate the entrance of the church for disabled access.