St Mary the Virgin

 

The church was built around the central Norman tower in 1150 and substantially rebuilt in the fourteenth century. There is record of priest at Olveston in the Domesday Book but the earliest recorded vicar dates from 1280. The tower originally had a spire, but lightning struck the church in 1604 and the pyramidal roof dates from the subsequent rebuilding with the addition of four decorated pinnacles. Major work to the interior in 2009 updated heating and lighting and added a meeting room, two toilets and kitchen plus multi- media facilities.

Exposure of the church tower and pinnacles to centuries of SW gales and freezing NE winds/rain has eroded a large part of the pinnacles, removed over 50% of the tower rubble stone rendering and broken several sills and louvres. The adjacent bell-chamber stair tower is built on earth foundations and is slipping down the historic tower wall. Masonry is falling from the pinnacles, water has weakened the walls of the tower and rotted the internal plasterwork. The stair tower is damaging the historic tower fabric. The stair tower foundations will be underpinned. The pinnacles will be taken down and replaced with newly manufactured ones, the tower walls re-pointed and replacement stone vents made and installed.

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