Historical churches future proofed to remain at the heart of the community

Historical churches around the country are being given a new lease of life, thanks to a restoration process called “re-ordering”.  

One of the south east’s largest and most respected firms of Architects, Clague, is re-ordering historical and listed churches, giving them a new sustainable use, allowing them to remain or even return to the heart of the community. 

The process of re-ordering involves renovations and restorations of varying degrees – from major structural repairs, to removing pews and replacing with seats which are more accessible, updating interiors and installing heating and kitchen facilities. Disabled access is also added in some cases – giving the churches not only a new lease of life but new sustainable uses for the benefit of the local community.

One church benefitting from Clague’s expertise is a medieval Grade I listed building in Kingsnorth, near Ashford in Kent.  St. Michael and All Angels Church dates from the late fourteenth century, and Clague delivered a sympathetic repair and restoration of the tower masonry, turret roofs window stonework. The team designed and built a new extension to provide much needed modern facilities as well as carrying out the essential reordering of the interior of the church itself.

Reverend Caroline Mansley, Vicar at St Michael and all Angels church in Kingsnorth, Ashford said;

“This new lease of life to our beloved church is proving invaluable already.  Clague’s vision has meant that the sympathetic re-ordering of our historic building has resulted in a more accessible and warm space for ‘the church’ – the gathered people of God – and has allowed us to welcome new people from our local community and beyond. We now have flexibility to move the pews around for more informal, family-friendly services, a quiet space for prayer or for children to play, and our extension affords modern facilities such as toilets, catering and meeting spaces that create a multi-purpose building which is let to outside organisations such as Ark Drama.”

Senior Partner at Clague, Andrew Clague said;

“It is not widely known that for 20 years Clague Architects has led re-ordering design of important Listed Churches in Kent and beyond. Such schemes at Kingsnorth, Eynsford, Goudhurst, St Nicholas and Barham are part of Clague’s Historic Environment Team Portfolio. The essence of all these schemes is to bring Churches up to the standards of this century, offering warmth, light and flexible interiors. This work is of enormous significance to the sustainability of Churches as historic buildings, enabling the wider community to use them in a variety of ways, such as concerts, art exhibitions, markets and for presentations etc.‘

‘These schemes are led by key individuals who work with Clague to bring forward the designs; funds are generated to enable the care of the buildings and thus creating a sustainable future that won’t only rely on a small congregation. “