General condition of the Spire and Tower
Although the church diligently carries out maintenance and repair work there are a number of issues with St Mary’s Church.
The issues relating to the spire highlighted in the inspection report of 2014 have been investigated at high level by a steeplejack and advice has been sought from a conservation accredited structural engineer. There is movement of the upper portion of the spire, possibly related to iron cramps embedded in the stonework. The engineer’s recommendation is that a stainless steel holding down rod and cross tree are installed, which will require the taking down and rebuilding of the upper portion of the spire. There are also issues with stonework deterioration, particularly to the lucarnes, and the pointing to the upper portion of the spire. There are also localised stonework and pointing issues to the upper portion of the tower. Water is penetrating the spire through the stonework in a number of places as well as through the lucarnes, where the detailing of the fabric to the rear of the louvres means that intercepted water is discharged down the internal face of the spire walls.
The tower roof gutters between the parapet walls and the spire are lined with lead, which is in a very poor condition. The roof outlets at the corners of the spire are significantly under-sized and are highly vulnerable to blockage by small amounts of debris. There are strong indications within the tower that these gutters are leaking.