When we launched our project, there was always more to it than just excavating the Anglo-Saxon church, important though that was. A key benefit, which counted a lot with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, was the proposal to create step-free access into the church for the first time. This has now been achieved
The entrance via the south door of the church is down a flight of four steps, so this was always going to be a problem for those with reduced mobility who need a level threshold. The only door offering the prospect of this was the north door, but this still needed quite a bit of work to make it happen. Until last year there was no paved access to this door. Laying the new path last June was the first phase of the work to create step-free access into the church.
Finding someone to take on the work of remodelling the threshold itself has been quite a task, but we have been fortunate to identify Sam Petersen who runs Craft Building Services out of Preston near Wingham. Sam first had to remove the existing threshold, some of which came out more or less whole,and the rest in Sam’s words ‘was swept out’, because it was so soft and rotten. The new sill bar was fashioned from a piece of redundant oak pew, which proved to be exactly the right width and depth. It just needed to be cut to length and morticed to fit.
The next step was to remove the step, which Sam did by creating a low ramp. This has been made from oak, and covered in a non-stick surface specially designed for this kind of situation, giving a safe low gradient entry into the church. Almost 1,000 years after the current church was built, it is good to see the provision of a step-free level entry into the church for the first time. This will make it easier for everyone now to use, and achieves one of the primary goals of the Pathways to the Past project.