Saturday, 23 July 2011
The work is well under way on St Michael’s roof.
The first picture shows the valley gutter soon after the builders had begun to uncover the area on which they need to work. You can see how most of the rain which falls on the church’s roofs (including that brought down from the tower roof) is channelled into this space; it makes a six foot drop into it in doing so. What you can’t see is that the water which accumulates here only has one exit which (because it makes a quick and narrow dog leg movement around a buttress) is easily blocked; when there is a blockage water rises in this valley as if it was a retaining tank, and, once above the flashings (which had been removed by the time this picture was taken), gets under the tiles and seeps into the church. This was a bad bit of design when the main part of the church (on the right) was built in 1913-15. At last we are doing something about it.
Incidently, this picture also shows a hint of the older shallower roof line on the gable of the mediaeval part of the church (on the left) which I had not seen before; creating a new much higher pitch was part of the 1913-15 work, which, I guess, reused stone from the north wall of the old church (which was being taken down at the time to allow the new church to be sliced on to it). You can also notice that the new part of the church simply has a brick wall at this point: this wall is invisible from ground level so they never bothered putting a stone face on it.
The second picture shows the valley gutter yesterday half way through re-modelling it; the new woodwork and the areas either side of it are yet to be covered. The water which comes into this area will now drop a much shorter distance and flow across this much broader platform. What you can’t see is that, because it is at such an increased height, it will then have a much more direct and simple exit (above the troublesome buttress), and the hopper on the new downpipe will even have a weir at the top so that water could still shoot out if it ever got blocked.