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St Leonard's Church Restoration Project 1996-2006
2006 was another milestone in the long history of Monyash Church. It witnessed the completion of over ten years of repairs to the fabric and structure of the building and its internal fittings and appearance. The programme started in 1996 after much pre-planning when, with the assistance of English Heritage and local funding, the tower was repointed and ominous cracks, caused in part by the corroding ends of the iron bell frame in the upper tower, made good. Urgent repointing and other repairs to the south porch, south transept and west walls were the next stage of the programme. In 2004 the remainder of the exterior stonework was repointed. In the meantime and with assistance from a team of volunteers, the three bells, two of them dating from the early twentieth century and the third from the eighteenth century, were restored to proper ringing condition and extensive repairs carried out to the ringing mechanism. New bell ropes were provided and the stair treads up to the bell and clock chambers made safe.
With the exterior of the building now in good order, attention moved to the interior. The whole of the electrical wiring and light fittings were renewed and, following a complete internal washing down of the walls and roof timbers, all of the rendered and plastered wall and ceiling surfaces lime washed. This phase was funded in part by a generous grant from the Derbyshire Churches and Chapels Preservation Trust. The final step was the replacement of the soft furnishings with new carpet runs complemented by a host of new individually embroidered kneelers. The opportunity was also taken to move the pipe organ, a compact chamber instrument on wheels, from its position near to the north entrance to its former location between the vestry and pulpit, thus affording an uninterrupted view of the interior of the building upon entry to it from the north door. All of the pews and wood panelling have been carefully oiled and polished. The result has been to transform the interior appearance of the Church. Its achievement has been very much a collective, local effort.
A service of rededication to commemorate what has been accomplished took place towards the end of 2006.
Our aim throughout has been to make this much-loved and ancient building as welcoming as possible to visitors, a Christian home in which to conduct our regular Sunday and other services and a place to meet and celebrate important events for the wider village community. In this spirit the church is kept open during the daytime throughout the year.
Bill Blackburne 2006
But time stands still for no one, not even our venerable church. Since the restoration project was completed, the Royal Arms were cleaned, repaired and rehung. Dated 1742, the large wooden hanging bearing the Arms was taken down while the interior cleaning and redecoration took place. A loudspeaker system has been installed and the central heating boiler was replaced.
With the benefit of a generous donation in the will of a late and much loved inhabitant of the village the PCC has been able to draw up and pay for a scheme for the installation of toilet and washing facilities in the base of the tower, together with other modifications to the use of the space in the lower part of the tower. The necessary permission to carry out the scheme is expected before the end of the year and the work of installation is due to start early in 2013. Once completed visitors to the Church will for the first time in the life of this ancient building have the use of facilities which we take for granted in our own homes.