St Mary’s Church – hidden gems of workmanship in days long gone
By Paul McCormack
As you pass St Mary’s Church you can see the daily advances made as the renovations continue and the workmen toil towards the completion of the work on the ‘Old Church.’
With the old plaster removed and the external walls stripped bare, several interesting facts have been uncovered. The southern facing window in the choir gallery, long thought to be a modern addition has the smaller arch of a previous narrower window above it. The old window seems to be about half as wide as the present but there are no indications of how long it was. The old plaster still remains on half of the east facing round window – again a late addition as betrayed by the use of red brick. When this old plaster is removed what hidden gems and from over 200 years ago will it uncover?
The roof of the church has a one metre plinth of concrete visible above the final course of stone. This shows that the roof was ‘raised’ in previous years – was this to allow for the addition of the present vaulted ceiling or was it to allow for the addition of the 3 galleries?
Some of the most interesting changes to St Mary’s are where the new sections and access points are being added. In modern materials of block and metal these new works contrast with the old stone structure and provide great examples of where the new meets the old. Why not stop a while on Chapel St/St Mary’s Hill and marvel at the centuries old building and how the craftsmen of today, following in the steps of their forefathers, are bringing the Old Lady of Chapel Street back to her full glory?