St John's, Staplegrove

Reordering Project

by Chris Young


  • Our church in Staplegrove has been the focus of community life since the 13th Century. It provides support for baptisms, marriages and funerals and at any time during the year for services at Christmas and Easter, or when you need emotional or spiritual support
  • The ancient building is no longer fit for purpose and we are raising funds to update our Church to meet the needs of the community in the 21st Century and make it environmentally friendly, efficient and effective

The plan includes

    • efficient underfloor heating
    • a new floor to improve the acoustics and reflect the light
    • the removal of fixed pews, replacing them with chairs and moveable pews to better utilize the space
    • provision of a server for refreshments
    • the redesign of the South Transept to create a welcoming meeting space
    • the inclusion of a Porch which will be lighter and more welcoming
    • the redesign of the Chancel to make it more adaptable for small services 
  • Please help us with this project by:
    • fundraising or attending a fundraising event
    • donating through the JustGiving website
    • sending a cheque, payable to PCC Staplegrove to Chris Young,1 Lawn Road, Staplegrove, Taunton,TA2 6EH
    • by BACS - sort code 60-80-06, account number 7081 with a reference of the first 5-6 letters of your surname and your postcode

Project Update 2016


  • We are still waiting for a response from several grant providers - these may tip the balance so that we can commence work soon. But we will not know the outcome until well into December
  • Some large sums of money have come in via unexpected sources
  • Our architect has shown how we can phase the work to ensure that we start without delay. We hope to commence early in 2017 so that the quotes are not subject to price rises
  • Some of the Steering Group members visited the Holy Trinity Church at Bradford-on-Avon to see the work which our architect has been involved in. The work is nearing completion and the Church will be reopening soon.


  • It is hoped that work will start on re-ordering early in the New Year, although the money is not all yet in place
  • The Steering Committee is grateful for the generous donations and fundraising that has taken place during the last few month
  • This has meant that we have been able to demonstrate that there has been considerable funding locally which has enabled some funding bids to be successful.
  • There are also some bids still outstanding but these are against other Churches who are going through the same process
  • There will be local publicity in the coming weeks which will show how re-ordering will support the wider community and reach out to local businesses, requesting help
  • There will be a list of Churches who have completed the re-ordering process which you may like to visit


  • The architect has been in discussion with two contractors who are in the running to carry out the re-ordering works to explore where cost savings can be made
  • We are looking at ways to reduce costs but also maintain our Church with its Grade 11 listed status
  • Submissions have been made to grant providing charities with the aim to start the work early in 2017
  • We were unsuccessful in our bid to the National Churches Trust, but we will resubmit this in September in time for the autumn funding round
  • There have been discussions with the architect and Diocese to prepare a list of churches where reordering has taken place with the aim to arrange a bus trip for a group
  • Please contact us if you know of any Churches which have had similar work carried out


  • There were two major bids for funds outstanding in the May Project update
  • The NCT grant application is still on-going and should be decided by the end of June but the HLF bid was not successful
  • The tenders from all four contractors are more expensive than was estimated by the architect so we are still short of funds to enable the reordering work to start
  • The HLF did make some suggestions about other sources of grant funding and several are now being explored
  • We are also working with the architect to ascertain whether savings can be made to bridge the gap between the funding gap
  • We are gratified that funds come in weekly from a range of supporters to finance the project and hopefully there will be better news in the next project update
  • Thank you for your continued support with the project


  • Four contractors will tender for the work.  Once these are received and allowing 2 weeks to review tenders, the earliest likely start for the work is the end of June
  • We have received confirmation of a faculty (church planning permission) which allows us to go ahead with the work and Taunton Deane have given permission for the roof lantern in the porch
  • The Steering Group is appreciative of the generous donations that have come in from Church members and the wider Parish to help fund the project. However we also have submitted bid for grants from the National Churches Trust and Heritage Lottery for £90K but there is no certainty that either will be successful
  • We have the option  to approach the Diocese who will provide loans at favourable interest rates for up 10 years
  • The project to select the new furniture is on-going
  • Once the reordering work commences the church will be out of use until it is finished – this may be later than Christmas  A committee has been set up to plan monthly fund-raising events.  Already planned are:
    • June – Parish Breakfast
    • July – a wedding celebration display planned by the Mother’s Union
    • September – a return cricket match
    • October – Auction of Promises, followed by tea and cake
    • A recipe book by members of the Mother’s Union


  • The preferred contractor should be chosen in May but there is no certainty when the work will start
  • The Diocese has agreed to provide £25,000 (of the £30,000 bid for) towards the work
  • Other bids for grant funding have been submitted but there is no certainty of their success and the response time is fluid
  • We are still some way off from reaching  our target for the work to start
  • Thank you to those in the Parish who have contributed as a result of the leaflet drop and it is still possible to donate via: Just Giving;  
  • The plans are still up in the South Transept for you to look at


  • The Diocesan Advisory Committee on Historic Buildings (DAC) have accepted the reordering proposal
  • There is a public notice in the Church Porch and the noticeboard in the Churchyard concerning the Faculty Application
  • This and the plans for the South Transept will be in place for 28 days before being considered by the Diocesan Chancellor who will give permission for the work to start
  • Four contractors have been approached by the architect with a deadline date of 31 March 2016. The architect will then review the costings and recommend a contractor. These costings will provide a more accurate estimate of the costs and a decision can be made how the project will move forward
  • Although the Project Steering Group has been working on a start date of May since last autumn, there are not yet sufficient funds to start workThere are some parts of the re-ordering that can be deferred and while we have about £100k it is only half the amount of money needed to make a start
  • Other sources of funding are being sort includinga leaflet drop to everyone in the Parish, explaining about the project and how donations can be made local businesses - including recruiting business people to talk to town-wide funding sourcessupport from the Fund for Church Growth, although the bid of £30k may not be met in full
  • Other grants could includeThe Allchurches' Trust, the National Churches' Trust, The Somerset Churches' Trust and The Heritage Lottery
  • If you would like to support our appeal please use the contact us form or donate via the Just Giving web site


  • A public meeting held in Church on 2 February was well attended and allowed the Church architect George Chedburn and his assistant, the project architect, Richard Codd to set out details of the scheme. In general there was a positive response by those who attended the meeting
  • We are now close to getting formal permission from the Diocese to start work
  • This position means that we can apply for grant funding since we have to show that there are no blocks to delivering the scheme
  • Contractors will be sought to carry out the work and the tenders will provide an accurate estimate of the costs involved
  • We are going to distribute a leaflet to people and businesses in the Parish asking for financial help 
  • We have set up a Just Giving Page for anyone who would like to make a donation to the project electronically
  • Please contact us if you would like further information or have any queries about the reordering project