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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.99

Church heating specialist spans the Midlands

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist in the village of Somersham, near Huntingdon, stands on a site which is thought to have been used for Christian worship since the second half of the 7th century.

The current building itself dates from the latter part of the 13th century and was probably built by one of the bishops who lived in the Bishops Palace, which was sited only a few hundred yards from where the church now stands but has sadly disappeared.

The parish is part of the Benefice of Somersham, Pidley-cum-Fenton, Woodhurst and Old Hurst, and St John’s is the largest of the four churches in the Benefice.

Earlier this year the heating system in the church was completely upgraded by Stoke-on-Trent church heating specialists Mellor and Mottram. The previous system was over 20 years old and had become very inefficient and costly to maintain. In a news article the church noted that in 2016 it had cost over £2,000 to have the boiler serviced for the following winter.

The article says of the old boiler: “It is housed in a submerged pit which is very damp at some times of the year and the boiler has become very rusty, both on the outside and internally. There is concern that when it is serviced it may be condemned.”

The task of replacing the system at Somersham was no easy one and required the specialist expertise of Mellor and Mottram, who have been installing heating systems in ancient churches for over 30 years. St John’s is Grade One-listed and its PCC invested a great deal of time in planning the new system, which cost around £66,500. The funding for the project came from a variety of sources, including using part of a large legacy left to the church some years ago. The PCC also secured a grant from WREN – the not-for-profit business that awards grants for community, biodiversity and heritage projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.

The new system installed by Mellor and Mottram comprises two Remeha Quinta Pro gas-fired boilers feeding new high-efficiency radiators, together with a number of Dunham-Bush fan convectors in various areas of the church. New piping was installed and the gas supply and meter were upgraded. The new wall-mounted boilers are located in the North Porch of the church, rather than in a basement, and there are now radiators in the Sanctuary, where previously there was no heating.

The heating is controlled by the company’s churchwarden system – a wireless-based system that can be operated by either PC or smart phone.

The project in Somersham was completed in early summer. Two further church projects are due to commence for the Stoke company in September. One is very much on their doorstep, at Trentham.The Parish Church of Trentham is located on the edge of the famous Trentham Gardens and Trentham Estate. Once a magnificent country estate and seat of the Dukes of Sutherland, Trentham is now a major tourist attraction, just south of Stoke-on-Trent, based around a Capability Brown lake and a newly-created Italian Garden.

The Parish Church of St Mary and All Saints faces the Italian Garden. The present church was built in the 1840s by the Duke of Sutherland, on the site of a previous priory church. Local legend has it that a priory was established by St Werburgh, but that story is unlikely. The earliest documented evidence of a priory is that established by Ranulph de Gernon, Earl of Chester, in the mid-12th century.

Following the installation of a new Remeha boiler in the church last year, there were found to be major problems with the pipework, so new radiators and convectors are being installed by Mellor and Mottram. The new boiler will now be feeding Jaga Mini radiators – small units designed to fit under glazed areas. The system will be split into two zones: the church itself and the church centre. A number of Dunham-Bush convector heaters will also be connected into the system.

Also in September, Mellor and Mottram will be starting work on a new system for the Methodist Church at Woodhouse Eaves near Loughborough.

Apart from the two projects due to start in the autumn, Mellor and Mottram will be making their customary appearance at the Christian Resources Exhibition in Sandown from 16-18 October. Company director Stuart Mottram has been a regular exhibitor at the show for many years and will be showcasing what the company can provide for churches of all denominations at Stand S102.

A comprehensive run-down of the full spectrum of events at this year’s CRE, together with a taste of the goods and services that will be on show, can be found on the following pages.

For further information visit www.mellorandmottram.co.uk