St Nicholas’ Church – Garden of Remembrance – Pubic Notice & proposed changes
This is a beautiful quiet space by the church. Ashes are placed here and loved ones are remembered often with flowers. The existing 1990s wall is in a state of disrepair as identified in both the 2014 and 2019 Quinquennials Inspections, and its unattractive looks detract from the garden. In addition, the demand for plaques from church members and the wider community mean that space for these will run out in the next year to two.
We wish to repair the wall and to make improvements to provide additional space for plaques at the same time as this provides the most cost-effective approach for stonework.
Below you can find details of our proposed improvements for additional plaques and the ideas we have considered in making our decision on the best way forward. The process to get consent from the Diocese to do the repairs is straight forward. However, for the improvements we need to obtain a Faculty which involves giving public notice of our plans and allowing time for people to object. You can find the Public Notice here
The improvements we propose making involve creating space for plaques on the walls of the 1990s office extension to the Church. This will involve the addition of a new stone facing on the West print room wall for additional space, and also a 2metre extension beside the existing plaque space on the North office wall. For those interested in the details, these are the links for Remembrance Panel Plans West and North
We have discussed widely with the DCC and those who do interment of ashes and the affixing of plaques. Originally the architect suggested we build on two piers to the existing walls in the remembrance garden; this would provide very few additional plaque spaces and would create a damp and dark space in all the corners. We also thought of building up. The existing walls are made of poor quality, crumbly stone and the advice is not to build on something that has proved to be non-durable and weather sensitive. The architect, Stefan Skanski’s original idea was to add two piers and also a new wall. The new wall would be costly and also may well go over interred ashes. The idea is not a popular one and would change the space in the churchyard. New foundations would need to be dug and possibly disturb burials of ashes and it would divide some old plaques from new ones. No one was in favour.
We then considered adding stone to the west wall of the print room (part of the 1990s church extension). This may need foundations but is still cheaper than building a new wall. It is much less intrusive. The stone should blend with that of the print room. There are no burials to worry about and it does not intrude into the churchyard. Daffodils and snowdrops grow in the surrounding space. This keeps the shape of the remembrance garden intact and does not intrude on the churchyard. It is likely to provide 10-20 years’ space for plaques. The same parties have been consulted within the church and are happy with this plan. The print room will benefit insulation wise from another layer of stone on the wall.
Vicky Platt – Church Warden
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A History of The Church of St Mary the Virgin
Kinsbourne Green, Harpenden, Hertfordshire
The story of St Mary’s is the story of a small country church and the way in which it has continued for the greater part of a century and a half to meet the needs of the community it serves.
The original early Victorian building, as the architectural style bears witness, still forms a large part of the present day Church. It was purpose built in 1869 as a combined church and school on a site given by the then Lord of the Manor of Annables, the Reverend William Smyth. A few years earlier in 1865, Canon Vaughan, the first Rector of Harpenden, had arranged for meetings and children’s classes to be held in the kitchen of Mrs Grips who lived in a house facing the Green. When the Church-cum-school was completed, the first school mistress was a Miss Freeman. A separate classroom for infants was added to the original building in 1892. When St Mary’s was rebuilt in 1968, this classroom was incorporated in the present Church Hall.» Read more