The planned removal of the 'blown plaster' on the lower section of the south nave wall to allow the wall to dry out was done on September 9th. To the surprise of the builder this work revealed two previously hidden features.
Close to the south door is a stoup which seems to match those on either side of the nave arch.
There is also a much larger arch, between the window and the exposed piscina on the south chancel wall, of which the top section has always been exposed.
This niche contains stone infilling, part of which has been provisionally identified as a pre-reformation altar stone or mensa.
The church architect was consulted and arranged for the diocesan archaeologist to come and assess the significance of this discovery. He came in November 2005 and his findings were reported to the PCC so that it could make an informed decision as to how to proceed.
The latest news is that we have been granted a faculty to complete the work on the south nave wall, and we hope this will done by the end of October. The permission granted is to remove the infill in the Stoup alcove close to the door, to remove the plaster covering the easterly alcove and neaten the plaster edge along the whole wall so that the exposed flints will remain a permanent feature of the church.
Local builder Ralph Calver must have been surprised to have had such a keen audience for the uncovering of the rest of the plaster on the south wall at the beginning of November. He had to work very carefully as some of the old plaster is very frail and we did not want to remove more than was necessary. The removal of the plaster above the mediaeval altar stone did not reveal any new discoveries, as the infill, although containing some quite large pieces of stone, was not immediately remarkable.
The stoup alcove had been infilled carefully with flints probably over 400 years ago, these Ralph managed to remove equally carefully, and they have all been saved in a wooden box (as requested by the archaeologist ) as has a section of the covering plaster. The stonework of the alcove is undamaged and the decorative work seems to match that of the other alcoves in the church.