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Report - - Layston Church, Hertfordshire 9/03/2009 | Other Sites |

Report - Layston Church, Hertfordshire 9/03/2009

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Well, ask and you shall receive. Here are the photos from an exploration of a small church close to where I live.

Some background first. A relatively small church about a mile out of town, it was originally used as a sort of backup church for when the main one flooded, which apparently happened a lot in the olde days. It was renovated in the 1950's for use as a cemetery chapel. The place was closed in the mid-1990s after falling masonry caused a death and swiftly lost most of its roof. In the late 90s it was to be used for filming a church scene in "Saving Private Ryan", but this required building a new roof, then blowing it off and the building work made the place structurally unsound, so the project was scrapped (leaving the middle roofless).

The exterior

Quite eerie, one of the gravestones in the graveyard has my name on it :eek:. You can see the belltower on the left and the vestry on the right.
The roofless interior:

I couldn't resist this:

Decoration under the belltower, plus some history:

After a brief look around the nave and local area, we headed to the staircase under the bell tower. The staircase had been shut up for a long time and we were surprised to find it open initially. At the top of the staircase the stair seem to run into a brick wall; it might be that the stair formerly provided roof access.

The middle pole of the staircase was covered with graffiti, some of it very old. The earliest date we could find was 1840, though obviously this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt :p.

The room below the belfry:

I was unsure about the floor in here but after a while I managed to satisfy myself of its safety enough to (gingerly) explore.
Detail of the decoration on the far wall:

Now we climbed higher into the belfry itself. The room was filled with mechanisms and bells, and there was a hatch on the ceiling which provided access to the roof, unfortunately we had no way of getting up there :( .

The wooden machinery in the room, now very old and probably non-functional.

The actual bells themselves (nice rhyme). There were three of these roughly half my height up there connected by ropes to the floor below. They must have weighed a ton.

The outer door into the vestry. There was a small vestry at the opposite end of the building from the tower, however it was VERY securely locked so we couldn't get in :mad:.

There you have it!