PEOPLE in Bitton are being invited to drop in to St Mary’s Church on Saturday June 3 to try out a redesigned pew.
The prototype uses the oak and elm of the current pews but has remodelled them so that they are not only more comfortable but have retractable wheels that will allow them to be moved. The individually carved pew ends, dating from the 1880s, will be retained within the new design.
The proposal is part of a project intended to make the church a centre for the whole community and be used for a wide variety of activities, while continuing as a place of worship.
The current phase of work is focused on the interior of St Mary’s. In addition to work on the pews, work is also needed to provide a suitable and stable floor for the main part of the church and to conserve and clean its walls – some of which date back to Anglo Saxon times.
The prototype pew has been a collaboration between the church’s Future Committee, the church crchitect (Chedburn Codd), Newman’s Joinery of Bath, and Hanney Welding of Bitton. Cushions have been made by The Church Cushion Company.
The Drop In lasts from 11am to 3pm. Coffee, tea and cakes will be available as well as a short presentation on the history of seating in the church and further information on the church’s development project .
St Mary’s has received some sponsorship for the redesign work. These sponsors include Bitton Parish Council, The Bristol Archdeaconry Charity, Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust, The Asda Foundation, Wessex Water, The Renishaw Charities Committee, The Ken Biggs Trust, The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust
Individuals or groups can sponsor a pew for £1000. There have been six sponsorships so far and the church is seeking additional sponsors to complete this part of the project.