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
The year saw the continuing Coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictions to minimise the spread of the disease. As restrictions started to ease in the summer the Friends committee met (by Zoom) to consider the situation in relation to possible events later in the year, but decided to take the prudent course and not hold any events in 2021 – so we had a second year without any Friends’ events!
Friends played a major role in four formal work parties during the year – church yard work parties on 14 & 31 Jul, and 23 Oct, and a church work party on 21 Aug. These were well-supported. The church yard work included cutting long-neglected hedges, tidying graves including strimming, raking away cut long grass, cutting ivy on trees and on the church, and carrying out a lot of ‘simple’ tree work that had been authorised and was within the capabilities of our volunteers. Some more challenging tree work was entrusted to a tree surgeon. There were numerous trips to the Household Waste Recycling Centres to dispose of church yard waste. The work on the church included some work that had been excluded from the ‘big project’ to save money, but which we had undertaken to do with volunteers – this comprised the removal of unsightly and redundant iron work from a north-side buttress above the boiler house (which had originally supported the flue from a solid fuel boiler), and limewashing the ‘new’ walls and ceiling in the toilet and vestry. There were also other minor ad hoc events when a few volunteers carried out necessary work including clearing downpipes, gulleys, and drains.
At the end of 2020, a large part of the reredos at the east end of the chancel had broken away and landed almost intact on the chancel floor. The church had to commission an architect’s report and then a stonemason to carry out the repair. The Friends’ Committee decided to fund both the report and the repair – a decision that the PCC was very grateful for, given the poor state of church finances due to the impact of the pandemic.
The lack of any events during the year obviously impacted on our income, although we still got very useful income from membership subscriptions and donations.
Early in the year the Friends’ website was updated and migrated from a ‘stand alone’ One Suffolk site, to part of the Bardwell Church website. This was done at no cost and will save us the cost of the annual subscription to One Suffolk in future years.
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 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 normally published annually, 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: email@example.com
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.
There is still some outstanding work for the project – some that might be undertaken using some funding left over after paying all the project contractors’ bills, and some that can be undertaken by volunteers, such as limewashing the walls of the new accessible toilet.
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 glazing, masonry, and monument repairs are also needed, and the Friends aim to rebuild funds to help with this work in due course.
During 2022 we plan to support or run the following events:
There will be a Queen’s Platinum Jubilee themed flower festival in the church from Friday 3 June to Sunday 5 June. This is being organised by church flower-arrangers but there will be a need to have people ‘on duty’ in the church while the festival is on, and Friends will be asked to help with that.
Also over that weekend the annual village ‘Cars on the Green’ event will be held on the Sunday and Friends will be selling cash draw tickets beforehand, and over the weekend at the flower festival, and at the Cars on the Green event: Friends will take a share in the profits from the draw.
Jazz Concert in the Church
We are delighted that Bardwell resident Chris Ingham has kindly agreed to hold a jazz concert in the church on Saturday 1 October. 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 can be purchased on the We Got Tickets website.
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.