About St. Bridget's Church, Brigham

In 2013 we embarked on a project to restore the Nave and Lady Chapel ceilings.

In addition to the repainting of panels following serious water ingress a professional evaluation of the ceilings' condition has identified areas that are variously suffering from accumulations of dirt, water staining, paint crazing and flaking and fine fractures to the plaster panels. However, Hirst Conservation's overall impression of the ceilings is one which is of outstanding quality.

Restoration of these rare ceilings of William Butterfield's portfolio is important locally, regionally and nationally in preserving heritage for future generations. Restoration of the ceilings would reward the work of local volunteers, both secular and religious, who have expressed interest in the restoration project. Restoration of the ceilings would enhance a Cumbrian ecclesiastical building of significant historical religious importance.

The Project was precipitated by the ingress of water in 2009 with damage compromising the ceiling paintings as a work of art. The fabric has since been fully repaired.

Fabric and furnishings maintenance is a requirement of the churchTMs five yearly building inspection and as a Grade 1 listed building.
From a conservator's report three options were proposed and considered:

  1. a) Do nothing
  2. b) Reinstate the missing panels
  3. c) Clean, stabilise and repair the paint on both ceilings and reinstate the missing panels

Option c) was selected because Church Wardens and the PCC have obligations to maintain the fabric and furnishings of the church and the implications of not immediately addressing the continued deterioration of the paint mean prohibitive costs and impracticality of a restoration in the future. Additionally the substantial cost of support services e.g. scaffolding are independent of either options b) and c).

The Conservator's Report qualifies and quantifies the need.

St Bridget's finances are unable to support this work. The Church and community bore significant costs in the roof fabric repair. Community fund raising for this project is incapable of raising the considerable sums involved.

A number of funding bodies were approached e.g. National Churches Trust, English Heritage, Cumbria Waste Management. Their funds are, however, only available for fabric repair/restoration. The restoration sum involved is prohibitive without a significant grant, therefore there is no other option.

The involvement of some 180 people in a "Big Bible Read", to raise restoration funds, and many more making financial contributions is indicative of a demand to see the ceiling restored.

The story of the restoration is told in a series of display boards available on this page. The display is currently located in the lady chapel