Bats and roof repairs

Published on: 24 May 2022

Our church of St Leonard Billingford is 4 miles east of Diss and overlooks the picturesque Waveney Valley & Billingford Mill. It has served as a place of worship for more than 800 years.

We form part of the Redenhall with Scole Benefice. We are distinctive because our tower – which may never have been completed – is the same height as its nave. Despite its diminutive size, the art and architectural historian, Nikolaus Pevsner devoted more than half a page to our church in his guide on listed buildings.

In 2017 the Quinquennial inspection found part of the north roof was badly in need of retiling to prevent rainwater from getting in. Retile within 5 years was the architect’s recommendation!

Quotations were obtained and around £25,000 would be needed to carry out the work but, as with most rural churches, fundraising and grant aid would be required.

To complicate matters we have our very own bats so permission was needed from Natural England & Bat Conservation Trust before repairs could start. However, to do so they needed to know more about “our” bats, so surveys were required. These were completed with the help of local volunteers together with Suffolk Bat Group & Norwich Bat Group, for whose help we are very appreciative.

During this time we were organising fundraising and applying for grant aid. BUT then along came COVID which impacted fundraising activities.

We eventually received permission from Natural England to carry out the repairs albeit with restrictions, the work could only be carried out during April or the period 15th Sept-31st Oct, to avoid the bats breeding season or when they should be hibernating.

Due to the time taken to obtain the permission required in respect of the bats, and the restrictions on fundraising because of COVID, it was only late in 2021 that the funds needed to carry out these repairs were finally raised.

Repairs were completed by the end of October 2021 and we can now continue worshipping in our medieval Grade I Listed church, safe in the knowledge that the roof is much more secure.

This has now given us breathing space before embarking on the next round of repairs detailed in the Quinquennial Inspection report. These include removal of cement plaster and replacing it with lime plaster to combat dampness, both internal and external.

This article is from...

Articles in this issue...

Something is stirring on the eastern edge of the Diocese

At St Margaret’s Church, Hopton on Sea, there is plenty of excitement on a Thursday morning each week. This is the day when the PlayVan arrives and a new group is being formed at the church. It has been much anticipated, having been delayed by Covid 19 restrictions.


Sustaining church families

One of the challenges of working with children and young people in church is ensuring that their whole family is supported.


Is it all down to timing?

When we started Grace Church, Thetford (part of the Thetford Team Ministry) ten years ago, we plumped for 4pm as a start time for a variety of reasons.


Partnership and collaboration

It has been so encouraging to see how God has been at work over the last 16 months despite restrictions. As part of the sports ministry, we are running three lunch time clubs, three after school clubs and Active RE in three schools, reaching over 100 children each week.


Raising the roof in Kessingland

Our quest to start raising funds fora new thatched roof and associated repairs at Kessingland Church began in 2018, when we launched our “Raise the Roof” Campaign, with a Heritage Weekend.


Help with fundraising

Church Grants is a bespoke Christian fundraising consultancy that supports Christian Charities and Churches of all denominations.


Delight for the giver and the receiver

For me there is a small window each year in the quiet between Christmas and the end of January when I look forward to the coming events, in good years a wedding or a new baby in the family, a holiday, maybe the start of a resolution to run, sail, exercise, read more.


Responding to God’s grace

We only have to look at the Diocese of Norwich Parish Share figures to see that our parishes are full of the most generous people.


Finding “green” grants for your environmental project

Are you looking for funding for a new environmental project at your church? Low-carbon heating, solar panels, or a new nature garden perhaps?


All Saint’s Necton plant a tree for The Queen

On a perfect sunny morning in January, with blue skies above, we gathered in the churchyard after a United Benefice Service.


Keep up to date

Subscribe to our eNews for a snapshot of news, events and resources, usually emailed once a fortnight

Signup to newsletter