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August 02, 2006

Topping out a tower ....

Being a Church Warden certainly has its moments, most of them pretty trying, but a few quite good fun. Probably one of the most satisfying is celebrating the completion of a major project and we did that today. Our 904 year old tower has a new roof. To be fair it is the sixth new roof since the tower was originally completed in its present form around 1415 and the new one should last a minimum of a hundred years. The work has seen the replacement of some rotten timber, the reconstruction of the drains and water spouts to take the water clear of the walls and the installation of the new steel gratings to allow people to walk above the drainage gully. And a completely new lead covering to the whole - referred to as "the Pyramid". To celebrate the event we held a short service of blessing on the roof - 145 feet above the town, complete with the Town Mayor, the Town Crier, the Town Band, the Lord Abbot himself, the Church Wardens, the contractor and various members of the committee which has raised the money - roughly £300k.

The service took the form of a short service of Blessing and ended with the sprinkling of the roof and congregation with holy water and the tying of the rosemary sprig used for this purpose to the flag staff. Then the great Cross of St George was hoisted and the band blew a fanfare (heard in the streets below despite the wind!) and the Town Crier did a "Cry" from the parapet. This too was heard in the streets below - quite a feat for an unamplified voice!

The text of the "Cry" is as follows ....


On the occassion of the "Topping Out" service
to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the
Restoration Campaign at Tewkesbury Abbey

We, the Vicar, Clergy, Church Wardens,
Town Mayor and members of the
restoration appeal campaign,
do send most joyous greetings
to the Queen's most Excellent Majesty.

Assuring Her Majesty of our continuing
Love, Loyalty and Prayers.

Given to my hand in the forennon
of this First day of August
In the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Six


My only regret is that I could not take photographs!

Posted by The Gray Monk at August 2, 2006 07:29 PM

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