In 2015 the south aisle of St Peter’s church was re-roofed with zinc because the lead had been stolen. Just a few weeks after the church re-opened, thieves took the lead from the south side of the nave roof.
Following the theft of the lead from the nave, St Peter’s was awarded a grant from the The National Lottery Heritage Fund, made possible by National Lottery players. This has enabled a major project to repair the roof and install a small kitchenette, protecting the building for the future and facilitating its use for community, heritage and other events as well as worship.
Specialist contractors Eastern Foundry Lead Ltd started work on the roof in the autumn of 2019. In the course of the work it was found that additional repairs to the timbers of the nave roof and north porch were urgently needed, as well as some further work repairing cracks above the chancel arch and tower abutment. Grants awarded by the Norfolk Churches Trust, the Round Tower Churches Society, the Geoffrey Watling Charity and the Paul Bassam Trust helped to cover these extra costs.
The restoration was completed in 2020. The chancel arch has been repaired; new oak has been painstakingly let into the roof timbers to replace any rotten sections; stonework around the roof and tower has been re-laid as necessary; and the stolen lead has been replaced with zinc. Merton church is once again sound and weathertight, the building and its contents protected from the elements.
Installation of the proposed kitchenette was delayed by the Covid pandemic, but work was completed in March 2023, and we look forward to welcoming many visitors to this lovely church.