St Thomas’s church in Simpson, Milton Keynes, has a subsidence problem. Worrying cracks in the chancel walls have been monitored for some time, but on Thursday last week the problem was found to have got much worse.
The stability of the chancel is of such concern that nobody is allowed to enter, though the rest of the church is sound and a wedding last Saturday was allowed to go ahead.
The chancel is cracked along the edge of a blocked up window in its North wall, near the central tower. The South wall is also cracked at the opposite, East end, through a window. The North East corner of the chancel has dropped.
To understand what’s happening, St Thomas’s is built on a cruciform plan. There’s a 13th Century tower, all that remains of an earlier, smaller cruciform church. The rest of the church is 14th Century. The tower was underpinned around 1900, so it should be sound, next to the chancel.
The tower is supported by four arches, with the nave to the West and the chancel to the East. To the North and South are the transepts.
It’s thought that the long dry spell we had this summer has caused the problem. Investigations will be going ahead, but whatever is found, repairs are expected to cost many thousands of pounds.
I’ll be taking a more detailed look at the whole of this church in the near future.
The window has dropped on its right hand side, and this corner of the East chancel wall is leaning out. The wall tie next to the corner buttress is matched by another on the other side of the chancel; they are connected by an iron rod in tension and were installed to hold this end of the church together.
This post's photo was taken with a Sony A6000 camera and lens.
I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.
If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.