Showing off the work of St Denis at special event

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More than 60 people enjoyed an open evening last Friday at the redundant church of St Denis in East Hatley.

Rachel Morley, director of The Friends of Friendless Churches, which owns the Grade II building, took everyone inside and spoke enthusiastically about its history and the first phase of renovations, which were completed in May.

“The evening generated a lot of enthusiasm among the people of Hatley – it was all very exciting,” she said.

The church dates back to around 1217.

It was restored in 1874 by the noted Victorian architect William Butterfield, who was known for his Gothic Revival style and desire to make his churches open for everyone, regardless of wealth or status.

The building is now water-tight, new glazing has been installed in the nave windows and black-powder coated metal guards have been fitted on the outside. Tongue and groove floor boards have been laid in the nave with three inspection hatches so the medieval timbers underneath can be seen.

The central walkway to the nave has been re-tiled with some salvaged and some new tiles.

In the choir stalls areas of the chancel, an entire new floor structure has been created and new floor boards installed. The York stone edging to the tiled walkway and the tiled chancel step have both been repaired and restored.

“Since acquiring the building in 2016, the Friends have spent just over £113,000 on it,” said Rachel.

“Going forward after funds have been raised, we intend to install glazing to the chancel – including a 19th century stained glass window from a church in Norfolk in the east window, and recreate William Butterfield’s 1874 polychromic tiling.

Internal wall and ceiling finishes throughout the building must also be repaired and renewed – it is estimated £100,000 is needed to complete the repairs before it can be regularly opened,” she said.