It’s been a long haul, but Braunston’s historic All Saints Church, known as ‘The Cathedral of the Canals’, is finally looking its best again.
The church has undergone repairs and restoration work, but now the scaffolding is down, the painters have finished, and the church was packed for a special service to celebrate the completion of seven months of building work.
This week a 360 degree video tour is being filmed to show off the building’s many features.
All Saints Church is Grade II listed, but was threatened with demolition when the masonry began to crumble. The problems first emerged seven years ago and reached crisis point when a piece of masonry crashed to the floor at the end of a Sunday service.
But it was not until last year that sufficient funds had been collected to start repairs. The work has cost some £300,000, much of that money raised by villagers through the Friends of All Saints. Charitable trusts also helped and there was a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A special scroll on display commemorates their support.
All were invited to the celebration last Sunday. Representatives of Stone Edge, the specialist contractors who carried out the restoration, were also present. So were two former vicars, the Rev Claire Rose-Casemore and the Rev Michael Tompkins.
In a message to villagers, the current vicar, the Rev Sarah Brown, invited people to come and see the finished work for themselves.
She said: “I want to help to give God’s church back to God’s people.”
The hope now is to make the building more central to village life through concerts and events like an arts and crafts fair, as well as the regular services. A children’s discovery trail is also being prepared.
And the Friends of All Saints will continue their efforts so that the building will be safeguarded for many more generations.