The Cupola Project
HOME | EVENTS | CONTACT US | FIND US

HOME
DONATIONS
INTRODUCTION
2011 - 2015
HOW IT BEGAN:
THE VISION
THE AIMS
THE PROBLEM
THE REALITY
THE SOLUTION
THE FRIENDS
HERITAGE TRAIL
BFPC WEBSITE
USEFUL LINKS

REST0RATION & REORDERING
ST PETER & ST PAUL'S CHURCH BLANDFORD FORUM
THE BUILD UP .... 2011 TO 2016


The Cupola Project was launched in June 2011 to investigate ways and means to restore Blandford Forum's Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul.

Marcus Chantry, an Architect and Director of the Bristol-based company Benjamin & Beauchamp was appointed by the PCC in 2012 and since then has been working with Sara Loch (Chair of the Cupola Project Committee) to Project Manage. Marcus undertook the Quinquennial (5 year inspection of the church) and prioritised restoration work.

The original intention was to finish the project by "crowning" the church with a restored cupola. However, it proved that this was where some of the worst damage had occurred through ingress of water over the years.

Phase 1 [Emergency Repairs] included essential electrical works and patching up the sides of the Cupola. That work - all accounted for from the church's Fabric Fund - was undertaken during the Spring of 2014.

Phase 2a [High level repairs to the tower and restoration of the cupola, with improved safety access ladders internally] and Phase 2b [Improved Disability Access to the West Doors] required significant funding.

In August 2013 a grant application was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and on November 26th, the South West Committee of the HLF awarded The Cupola Project a First Round Pass of £241,100. This included a Development grant of £37,100. Overall, HLF are providing approx. 67% of the total costs, requiring match funding of the remainder - mainly from other grant-making organisations.

Throughout 2014 - following strict HLF guidelines in the "Development Phase" [largely funded by HLF] - numerous surveys were carried out, and activities have been planned that aim to promote the church's heritage during the Delivery Phase [scheduled for April to December 2015.] Extensive research was, and is still, required at the Dorset History Centre [where the church archives - Parish Records, accounts, Churchwardens reports, Minute Books, etc, are stored] and at the Wiltshire History Centre [archived Faculties - ecclesiatical planning permision].

A Conservation Management Plan has been prepared by Dr Joseph Elders of Church Care and adopted by the PCC. Dr Elders, on visiting SS Peter & Paul in 2013, declared that he believed St Peter & St Paul to be as important a church architecturally and historically as any of the other Dorset churches that are included in the Greater Churches Group: Sherborne Abbey, Wimborne Minster, and Christchurch Priory.

The Cupola Committee meets monthly, with new members always welcome. Fund-raising events are planned, exhibitions and heritage activities organised. Please keep coming back to the website for information, 'CONTACT US' at the top of this page to register your interest, or use our Facebook page link on the left.

In November 2014, a Planning Application for the West entrance was approved by North Dorset District Council, and a Faculty approved by the Diocese. The work went out to tender to specialist restoration companies. Unfortunately the tenders came back some £110,000 above the estimates (due to inflation over 2 years). The works on the tower have been scaled back to ensure that everything that needs to be done that requires access from external scaffolding will be done, and Phase 2b has been postponed until extra funding becomes available.

The grant application was re-submitted to the HLF SW Committee at the end of November, as required, for consideration at their next meeting on March 2nd 2015. A Round 2 Pass was granted and the HLF raised their contribution to the maximum allowed £250,000, allowing work on the tower and cupola to commence.

External work on the Cupola was completed in 2016, with some internal issues still to be resolved (e.g. a safety rope up the spiral stairs to the Ringing Chamber & Clock Chamber; safety chains/gates at the top of the new ladders within the Cupola).

Heritage Lottery Fund Logo

Website: CDC BFPC Web Design