On Thursday 3rd July 2014 a special Mass was held in the church to celebrate the completion of the project to reinstate a replica of the original Victorian dome that had been replaced in the early 1960s with a mansard roof.
We were delighted to welcome Bishop Mark O’Toole of Plymouth who officiated with our parish priest, Fr Richard Meyer. Six members of a local choir led the singing, and afterwards Denys Brunsden gave a short speech thanking Bishop Mark for coming, and everyone who had helped with fundraising and the many generous donors. The church was full, and the congregation were able to see the newly restored dome interior, painted with gold-leaf stars on a blue background by Adrian Everitt. Also on display were the Martyrs’ Relics and the 15th Century brass thurible which is usually on loan to the V & A in London. A reception was held afterwards in the Manor gardens by permission of Howard and Deirdra Coates, from where the view of the new dome was spectacularly lit up by the setting sun.
The next day an Open Afternoon was held in the church with tea and cakes served by the Friends Committee, and featuring a fascinating talk by the dome’s architect Andrew Stone who explained the intricacies of the work and how it was achieved. Also present was Nigel Jaggard of Magenta Building Repair who had done the work, and Nigel Dyer of Sandtoft Tiles who had come all the way from Doncaster to see the results of his special tile manufacture. A display of photographs of the original dome, the 1960’s mansard roof, and the progress of the work with details of the special tiles was set up in the porch, along with pictures of the Duomo in Florence, which had inspired the church’s creator, Charles Weld, in 1874, exactly 140 years ago.