St Mark's, South Norwood                                        


St Mark's Roof – a Saga

First published on: 10th May 2017

In 2013, we asked a steeplejack to come to look at the leak which was making a hole in the carpet from the pinnacle of the apse.  The beam that goes up from the cross beam in the apse is the newel post for the roof – i.e. it is structural.  The cross was ‘nailed’ into the top of the post just under the apex of the roof.  At the bottom of the cross was a piece of wood wrapped in lead, which was the plug that kept the water out.  The wood in the plug had rotted away, and the cross itself broke off in the steeplejack’s hand when he came to touch it.  We were lucky that the cross, which looked a lot bigger now that it was down than it did when it was up there, didn’t fall on someone. 


We organised a lot of fund raising to try and reinstate the cross but it was not until the end of 2015 that we were able to apply for a grant from Listed Places of Worship. The application was for the Chancel roof and north side of the church to be reroofed and the cross to be reinstated, once the internal beam and structure had been checked for rot. Luckily the inspector from the grant organisation came on a very windy day and we could hear slate falling off as we stood in church with him. This made him increase the grant and we could afford the work. We are waiting now for the VAT to be paid back to help with the finances.


Our architect decided to retire and we had to appoint another one, and the first choice of roofing company had made a mistake with their figures and we had to appoint another firm. Finally, in September 2016 the work was started on the re-roofing. Various structural engineers came and inspected both ends of the beam, cut out a bit of rot from the top and strengthened the internal beam. The cross was sent off to be cleaned up and was put back on the church in December ready for Christmas. The roof on that side of the church looks so good now it is a pleasure to look at.

-Penny Smith-Orr

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