Keep up to date with news and progress on the Repair and Transformation Project.

The project is being managed on behalf of St David’s by the Churchwarden Dave Allin, who can be contacted at

More recently, work has been taking place inside and outside the church

1st March 2017

Happily the medieval font now back and rest of font should be moved tomorrow. Doors going in ok and should be complete this week or early next. Plumber and electrician come on Monday.


15/17th February 2017


6th February 2017

Showing toilets ready for the walls hopefully this week and main floor ready for tiles and woodblock next week.

26th January 2017

3rd November 2016

We have now installed 11 of the 31 needles and steady progress being made. The two pictures below show both end of the support under the south west door.


31st October 2016

The core drilling is going well at the moment and being quickly followed by concreting in the needles. Last photo is core drill breaking through.

21st October 2016

Happily today the first four needles securing the church to it’s new foundation have been concreted in place. This crucial stage of the project will ensure that the building will now longer move with the seasons but rest firmly on the new concrete piles.

7th October 2016

Photos showing the steel reinforcement and concrete slab inside and outside the church. In about a week when the concrete has sufficiently hardened work should start to drill the holes through the walls and insert the steel needles that will prevent any further collapse of the foundations

22nd September 2016

Rear entrance waiting for the reinforcing and concrete to be poured

7th September 2016

The first refurbished radiator has now been returned and placed in an arch to give an idea of how the finished heating will look

17th August 2016

Two new photos – one showing trench for external ring beam and second showing internal drilling

13th July 2016

First photo of hole to allow piling where the old cupboard used to be, second photo of missing foundation section. Piling company scheduled for 25th July

7th June 2016

The picture shows the base of the south side of the main arch into the church. It seems the foundations were too far south so around 300mm of the column was just built off the clay. Not surprisingly, we have had some cracks!

They were slightly out of tolerance on the foundation positions for Mr Caroe’s church!

30th May 2016

Circle quite clear and three of the four niches visible, north west one missing. The pockets are probably where scaffold poles were placed for building or dismantling the church. The deeper trench cut to see what was present and material at the right is the hard volcanic rock structure which may be related to the kiln waste. Notice very black material on the upper side of the trench.

27th May 2016

Photo of the area under the old font location shows black bands of charcoal waste. These mark an area where a Roman kiln was raked out after firing. This matches the collection of pottery that has been found around this area of the excavated floor.

20th May 2016

Excavation of the nave floor continues to unearth parts of the earlier church. The first photo shows one of four niches in the entrance below the tower. The second photo shows the wall below the floor made from parts of the old church, and lastly the footings if the north wall of the old church, comprising roughly cut Heavitree stone laid directly on the clay subsoil about 600 mm below the current floor.

12th May 2016

Work has now commenced on removing the old floor at the east end of the nave to allow access for the piling and drilling machines to perform the underpinning. In the first picture the wall foundations are on the left and the block to the right may be the rear wall of the old church. In the coming days the remainder of the concrete will be removed to obtain a full picture of what lays below. The archaeologist is involved in all decisions of how to proceed.

29th April 2016

Pictures showing the repairs to the north arch. The stone was in excess of 100mm out of line and is now almost back in line with the remainder of the arch. The band of metal provides support for the arch if any further movement occurs. This may well be the cease as the underpinning work is done and the building settles onto the new supporting pins.

April 2016

This is vault is located right under the pathway up from St David’s Hill. The tarmac was laid onto the bricks of the arch with no soil cover at all. The archeologist thinks 19th century and happily empty. We will have a ground penetrating radar scan to see if any other voids on the path or in the church.

Tuesday 1st March 2016

Work is progressing.

Wednesday 10th February 2016 – Day 3

Transformation and repair update, January 2016

After some 4 years of grant applications and investigations, it is very good news that in February we will start the repair work on the west end of the church. In December 2015 we received the good news that HLF had agreed to our submission for the £198,000 to complete the delivery of the works we detailed in the discovery phase that they supported in 2015. The PCC agreed that we should sell the property at Wrefords Close and allocate the first £220,000 of any proceeds to the works. Combined with other grants from Pennon Environmental, Garfield Weston, Bernard Sunley, The Cooper Legacy and All Churches Trust, this gives us sufficient funds to perform the repairs and a good amount of the other parts of the transformation.

The initial repairs, performed by Corbel Construction, will last around 6 months and comprise:

  • Moving the font to a temporary location, moving the font cover forward to its new location, and removing the old floor.
  • Drilling and casting of 42 concrete piles that anchor into the bedrock below the church, which lies at depths of 2 to 8 metres. Then casting a concrete ring inside and outside the building to link all the piles together.
  • Drilling through the walls and inserting stainless steel beams to carry the weight of the walls on the new pile foundations. Then grout in the beams.
  • Casting a new concrete subfloor inside the church, replacing the font about 2 metres forward of its old location, installing insulation over the floor and installing a top floor including pipework for underfloor heating.
  • Casting a new concrete path outside the church to cover the piles and beams. This will provide the base for a new path all around the church.
  • Repairing the damage to the arches and repointing all the cracks in the stonework. This will include placing stainless steel reinforcement.
  • Putting a new plastic membrane over the failing asphalt roof at the balcony and top level of the west end.
  • Replacing the decaying cedar shingles and failing lead on the spires.
  • Restoring the wood and tile covering.
  • Restoring the toilets with a new entry from the west end vestibule.
  • During these works we will also arrange for a new gas supply for the heating to be installed, and repair the stained glass windows that have cracked with the movement of the building.

At the end of this first phase we will have a stable building and no longer have to catch the water cascading in to the west entrance during heavy rains. However we still have a number of other parts of the transformation part of the project still to do before we complete our overall vision. These comprise:

  • Building the new kitchen and meeting rooms in the north and south arches on the foundations provided by the builders. We have the funds for this and will be reusing some of the wood released by remodelling the pews.
  • Remodelling the pews to shorter, moveable benches. This will be done in two steps for cost and time reasons. See the article ‘are you sitting comfortably’ for more details.
  • Installing new heating to replace the noisy and rather ineffective radiant fires we now have. We will run the tender for this during the repair works and hope to do the work in late 2016.
  • Improving the lighting with LED bulbs in the existing nave and chancel lights and replacinbg the spot lights with better LED versions.
  • Replacing the fixed dais with a moveable stage to allow more flexible use of the nave to suit both concerts and plays.
  • Augmenting the shortened pews with chairs to return the capacity of the nave to the 350 dictated by the fire limit.
  • Replacing the rather unappealing tarmac paths with a better material and reshaping the north path to allow wheel chair access right from the pavement into the church. This will include lighting and signage.

While we have enough funds to do the repairs and some of the other parts, we still need to raise more funds to complete the whole vision and deliver the warm, open, welcoming space that we shaped at the parish day. We are still applying for more grants for the parts not yet started.

Dave Allin, Project leader

Friday 18th September 2015

We are very pleased to announce that we have a faculty authorising us to commission the repairs and reordering.

Thursday 7th May 2015

Great news!
We have been offered, subject to some formalities, £75,000 from Viridor Credits.

Sunday 29th March 2015

Summary of congregation feedback January 2015 (pdf)

Friday 20th February 2015

We had some test boreholes drilled to check the depth of the rock and the quality of the material. Happily a dry day and success with a maximum depth of around 6 metres to solid rock on the first test.

The first core from around 1 to 2 metres down shows clay that has been disturbed over the centuries that St. David’s has been a site of worship. The other two pictures show the full set of cores and samples removed for further analysis.

Did you know…

…not for the claustrophobic, here is picture of one of the tunnels under the nave feeding hot water to the radiators originally used to warm the church.

Sunday 1st of February

The congregation had the opportunity to test two alternative reconfigurations of the existing pews. The current design suffers from a short seat and a very vertical back. The two alternative designs examine the impact of changing the rake of the back and making the seat a little deeper. We will report soon on the conclusions of this survey and on the conclusions of the consultation day on January 25th.

Sunday 25th January 2015

Around 60 members of the congregation were involved in a very constuctive and positive meeting about the project. A summary of the outcome will follow shortly.

Consultation Day

After church there will be a consultation with all the congregation to give an update about the Transformation Project. There will be an opportunity for everyone to ask questions and express hopes for the future of St David’s. In the meantime please ask Dave Allin or Tom about the progress of our project.

There will be a bring-and-share lunch at around 1pm after the Consultation.

Thursday 23rd January 2015

Exploratory work to find out how the floor at the west end was constucted

A summary from Tom

There is very good news about St David’s Transformation project. In September we heard from the Chancellor of the Diocese of Exeter that our faculty application has been approved with one or two minor conditions. This means that we will be able to go ahead with the last preparations for building works if the Heritage Lottery Fund feel able to give us Phase Two grant money. We are very grateful that HLF have already granted St David’s £50,000 for the Development Phase. That money has been well spent on drawings and surveys, and other preparatory works. We hope to be able to announce the beginning of the Delivery Phase before long. I am hugely looking forward to a renewed and repaired church building that is, in every sense, warm open and welcoming. Wow! More news will follow as soon as we are able to report further developments.

End 2014

The Heritage Lottery Fund have awarded us £50,000 for the preparation phase for this work. Over the next nine months we are working with our engineers and architect so that we know the exact detail of all the work that needs to be done.


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