For the last 10 years or even longer the roof on St. Mary's has been giving us trouble. About 40 years ago it was decided by the then PCC to re-roof the north and south aisles, nave, chancel, flower vestry and boiler room using heavy clay tiles which would have been in vogue at that time. One sees them on many properties built at that time particularly domestic properties. On whose advice to replace the slates we do not know. What we do know is that the roof of the church was not designed for such heavy clay tiles, often known as Marley tiles. The decision to re-roof the church was probably due to the slates suffering what is known as nail tiredness. This is where the nail corrodes to such an extent that the slate slips leaving a hole in the roof allowing the weather to penetrate. Modern thinking would almost certainly be to remove the slates, felt the roof and reattach the slates using nails which would be less likely to corrode. This would mean only replacing those slates which had been damaged over the years with new slates.
Because we have the heavy clay tiles we are almost annually suffering damage to the roof during autumn and winter storms. The problem is that when the wind is in a certain direction it creates a vortex between the tower and the roof on the north side of the nave. This in turn lifts the tiles and either blows them onto or they slide down onto the roof of the north aisle which is considerably lower. As the tiles land on the tiles of the north aisle they usually smash both themselves and the tiles onto which they land. Often the shards have penetrated through to the roof felt underneath resulting in water penetration onto the pews in the north aisle. Damage will also occur to the the wooden salts and rafters supporting the tiles probably in some form of rot. We now find there is also water penetration occurring in the boiler room too which obviously needs attention.
Our church architect has been consulted with regard to the roof and his advice is return to the type of slate which was originally covering the church roof. An example of this can be seen on the roof of the Lady Chapel which was never changed. Our aim therefore is replace all the heavy clay tiles with Welsh slate. Until we get a specification from the church architect and a number of alternative quotes we do not know exactly how much this will cost. At the moment we have revised our figure to approx. £130,000 (March 2015)