MAJOR repairs are being planned to the iconic spire of St Wulfram’s Church in Grantham.
The spire, the town’s most famous landmark, is one of the tallest in the country at 277 feet, and is also regarded as one of the finest architecturally.
But recent inspections have revealed damage to a 24ft section of the spire, and preliminary work is being done to prevent further damage before full repairs can be completed.
Grantham rector The Rev Chris Andrews said: “The top 16 feet of the stone spire is perfectly sound, having been repaired in 1946-7.
“However the next section of stonework below this contains a great number of iron cramps between individual stones. Over the years these cramps have corroded to the extent that they are beginning to put pressure on the very pieces of stone which they should be holding in place.
As a result small cracks have appeared in the stonework of the spire in this section.”
Structural engineers who have been inspecting the spire have recommended immediate action to prevent stones from being moved any further out of place.
A framework of metal struts has already been installed inside the spire, and this will be followed in January by a series of strong wooden splints on the outside of the affected area. The first phase of the work is expected to cost about £10,000.
Permanent repairs to the spire are expected to take place in the summer of 2013.
The Rev Andrews said: “We want to underline that in the meanwhile the building is perfectly safe. There is no danger to anyone in the church itself or in the vicinity of the church.
“The spire structure will continue to be checked and monitored, from inside and outside, at regular intervals and if any further concerns were to arise we would of course take the necessary action without delay.”
Early next year, when the full cost of the repair works has been determined, the church will begin a fund-raising campaign to raise the money needed to pay for the repairs.
The Rev Andrews said: “The church and steeple of St Wulfram’s are treasures of church architecture, a source of pride to local people and of national importance.
“We hope that many people both in the town and across the country will be moved to help us to restore the spire to full structural stability, strength and beauty.”