St. Thomas Church, Butterton

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St. Thomas’s Church in Butterton near Newcastle under Lyme was built in 1844 to the design of Thomas Hopper, at the request of Lady Pilkington not far from Swynnerton Hall. The Church has a cruciform plan of nave, north and south transepts and a short chancel. There is a central tower over the crossing, which supports a shallow pitched stone steeple of unusual design. The Church is a brick construction with external sandstone facing taken from the local quarry; it was built on heavy red clay subsoil which has a high water table resulting in dampness from the onset.

Before the first campaign of repair work started on site in 2006, dry rot was affecting the north and south wall of the nave and the north wall of the north transept and parts of the chancel area; wet rot was also affecting wall plates and parapet gutter systems. In 2005 we undertook the preparation of drawings and specifications for the dismantling and rebuilding of the shallow steeple (with extensive stone renewal) as the stone blocks had become misaligned due to the rusting of the original metalwork; the renewing of the lead parapet gutter linings and flashings; the repair of the dry rot affected plaster and its redecoration; local stone repair and complete renewal of the drainage system below ground.

In 2013 we were instructed to prepare drawings and specifications for the second phase of the repair works. This included the complete re-roofing of the transepts and Chancel and the partial re-roofing of the nave; extensive re-pointing and masonry repair to the walls and the Romanesque style windows; the construction of a new French drainage system with a view to reduce the rising damp problem affecting the plinth along its entire perimeter.

Both phases of the repair works have been the subject of a grant offer from English Heritage/ Heritage Lottery Fund.