The objective of the Friends is to preserve the fabric of Bardwell Church and the churchyard in as good a state of repair as possible.
The Church of St Peter and St Paul, Bardwell is over six hundred years old, having been largely restored in 1421 when the magnificent roof was erected. The original church was much older and was mentioned in the doomsday survey of 1086 and at the time was endowed with eight acres of land. The church was Listed as Grade I in 1955 – the listing is on the English Heritage website at historicengland.org.uk.
We are extremely fortunate to have this building of such historical interest and the members of the church need the assistance of all those who live in the village to help look after it.
The Parochial Church Council has to find a considerable sum of money for the running expenses of the church and it is their intention to continue to do this. However, to find the necessary funds to preserve and make improvements to the fabric is now beyond the resources of church members, so we are asking everyone in the village to consider giving their support to this project.
Members of the church feel that they would like the building to be used not only as a place of Christian worship, but to see it revert to its medieval pattern of use as a meeting place where concerts or other suitable activities can take place. Friends of Bardwell Church is an organisation, which not only holds fund-raising events, but also enables those who are new (and not so new) to the village to get to know each other.
The former Bardwell Environmental Survey Team (BEST - now disbanded), did a lot of useful work in the Churchyard, and the Friends have also taken on this role. It is hoped that apart from raising money for church improvements that some volunteers may wish to join us to do other things, such as being part of the team that cares for the church and its churchyard.
We are always delighted to welcome new "Friends" – see the membership section below.
Update from the Chairman
2022 saw us all gradually emerging from the pandemic mindset and behaviours. Early in the year we decided not to run a Safari supper, judging it was still too early for the close social mixing involved. We also decided not to run a stall at Cars on the Green (COTG) during the Jubilee weekend in June, but we did respond positively to an offer from the COTG committee to sell their cash draw tickets in exchange for a share in the profits. So we ended up organising a plan to sell tickets before the event, at the church during the Flower Festival over the COTG weekend, and at the event. Despite poor weather on the day we (and our partners in the PTA) helped significantly to boost sales and produce some useful income for the Friends.
However, our main effort in 2022 went into organising and running the jazz concert in the church in October. We are very grateful to Chris Ingham for kindly offering to do a concert for us (with singer Joanna Eden) at a very reasonable rate. We arranged the promotion of the event, the ticket sales, two bars, and all the other organisation for the event. It was a sell-out, was widely-praised, universally enjoyed, and raised a very pleasing sum for the Friends.
Of course we raise funds to support the fabric of the church and churchyard. This year our financial support went towards the repair of the churchyard wall by the main gate where the large mature yew tree’s growth had pushed the wall toward the adjoining property and caused the wall to fracture. The wall was repaired by a contractor rebuilding it using a ‘bridge’ over the roots leaving space to allow for future growth. The PCC had obtained a grant of £1500 for this work and Friends contributed half of the rest, with the PCC covering the other half.
The other way we support the fabric of the church and churchyard is through physical help by volunteers, and in 2022 we supported two formal work parties on 23 April and 18 August, as well as a number of informal ones where a few volunteers helped out with some urgent small tasks. During the year cut long grass was raked up, a medium-sized tree was felled, and other minor tree work, general strimming and tidying work was carried out, and a large number of runs to the tip with green waste were made.
Other assistance has been provided by Friends helping to man the church both for the Flower Festival during the Jubilee weekend in June, and for the two Heritage weekends in September.
I would like to record my grateful thanks to the Friends committee, to the Friends members, to all those who organised, helped at, and supported our events and work parties over the year, and to those who subscribed to or donated generously to our funds – without all of you much less would have been achieved.
The Friends of Bardwell Church Newsletter is published occasionally, providing a roundup of the previous year's events, AGM reports, what's on the horizon and more.
See links below to previous issues:
Friends come from all walks of life, are of all ages and can be of any religion or none but their common interest is in preserving the fabric of this beautiful old building and also keeping the churchyard, safe and tidy.
There are currently about 60 households who pay a minimum annual membership fee of £5 – many choose to pay more. Not all members live in Bardwell or even the nearby villages but they kindly continue to support the work of the FOBC because of some past connection to Bardwell, the building or graveyard.
As well as paid up members, there are many local volunteers who help with the fund-raising events and practical work involved with the maintenance of the building and the graveyard. It isn't all hard work - the social events are fun and enable everyone to meet and make new friends. We hope you will be able to join us for the events which will be planned when the current pandemic situation permits. If that is not possible please be assured your contribution is helping to keep the fabric of the village church in remarkably good shape.
Whatever your contribution it is very much appreciated and if you have friends or family who you think may be interested In joining FOBC please do encourage them to pick up a membership form in the church or contact the membership secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org
The grass in the churchyard is cut every two weeks, from late March until early October and, with the help of a grant from the Parish Council, we are just about able to finance grass cutting.
Sadly, finances will not support any other maintenance and we depend entirely on the help of volunteers. These other maintenance activities include litter picking, weeding, strimming, pruning, hedge cutting and tidying graves.
To support these activities, we organise at least two work parties a year, one in the Spring and another in the Autumn. These are usually held on a Saturday from 10am -1pm, with refreshments provided. It’s a good way to meet friends, old and new, and catch-up on village news.
If you are interested in joining one of our work parties, they are advertised in the Village News.
The Friends made a very significant financial contribution (£31,000) to the ‘big’ project at the church to carry out some urgent repairs as well as provide some new facilities.
The main work on this project was carried out by contractors starting in October 2019 and finishing in February 2020. The Friends also assisted with some self-help parts of the project, notably the construction of the trench arch sewage disposal system. Further details are given in the illustrated document attached to this website.
As always, repair and maintenance work on a large listed historic building such as Bardwell Church is always needed: the ‘big’ project carried out several high priority items, but other repairs are also always needed.
In 2022 the Friends helped fund the churchyard wall repair as mentioned above, and are now rebuilding funds to help with a significant project to repair, clean, and conserve the important monuments in the chancel, as well as help with smaller projects as they arise through funding or physical help.
During 2023 we plan to support or run the following events:
Saturday 13 May 2023 sees the return of the Safari Supper which enables villagers old and new to meet in a fun social event which also raises funds for the Friends. You don't need to be a Friend to take part and details of the event are published in the Bardwell Village News.
Late May Bank Holiday Weekend
On Sunday 28 May the annual village ‘Cars on the Green’ event will be held, and Friends will be selling cash draw tickets both in the weeks beforehand, and at the event: Friends' funds will benefit from a share in the profits from the draw.
A ‘1970s Songbook’ Concert in the Church
We are delighted that Bardwell resident Chris Ingham has kindly agreed to hold another concert in the church on Saturday 14 October. This time the theme will be ‘A 1970s Songbook’. The event is being organised by the Friends and all profits will go to Friends funds.
In addition to the main musical attraction we currently plan to have a cash bar, a raffle, and Chris's CDs will be on sale.
Tickets are available on the We Got Tickets website.
As always, offers of help to run these events would be gratefully received.
The 2023 Concert
Get in touch with Friends of Bardwell Church
Chairman: Dave Ray
Vice Chairman & Treasurer: Andrew Smith
Committee Secretary: Vacant
Membership Secretary: Delyse Ray
Grant Getting Group
Eileen Russell Roberts
Churchyard Working Parties
Messages sent via this generic email address will be forwarded to the appropriate FOBC committee member.