Trusty Servant May 2019 No.127 - Page 8

No.127 The Trusty Servant Institute’s collection of Butterfield’s work contains the drawings for the choir stalls and research by Tom Foxall of Historic England reveals detailed designs for a Bible desk for St Michael’s, and pews and pew-frontals which closely resemble those at the church. The 1882/3 work commenced at the east end with the creation of an elongated chancel with choir stalls and construction of an organ bay and vestry to the north. Floors were relaid in tiles and woodblock and ornate encaustic floor tiles decorated the chancel and vestry. A mosaic reredos to Butterfield’s design was installed below the repositioned east window. Box pews were removed and ‘free seats’ (pews) with kneeler rails were introduced with the south doorway reinstated with a narrow porch. The church was well on the way to transformation, but Butterfield’s grand vision for the church was never fully executed because of lack of funds, leaving the incomplete north arcade as evidence of his intentions. In 1898 the last significant element of construction took place: the extension of the vestry to the north in materials and design sympathetic to Butterfield’s work. Understanding the development of the church over the past 200 years and uncovering details, in particular of the Victorian alterations and fixtures, has been crucial to determining the potential for change at Michlā. Through the detailed research carried out with input from Historic England and Border Archaeology, it has been possible to establish the significance of the church fabric and fittings. This in turn has informed the re-ordering scheme which has now received planning and listed-building consent from Winchester City Council. The proposed plans retain the most significant elements of Butterfield’s work which are seen in the chancel, including the choir stalls, which he is believed to have gifted to the church. The stalls will remain in their existing location and will be sympathetically modified to raise the height of the frontals and extend the seat depths to improve usability. The most obvious change will be removal of the fixed pews, which are to be replaced with stackable seats, enabling flexible seating layouts to suit a variety of uses. At the main entrance the small, awkward lobby arrangement is to be altered. A large, glazed lobby is to be installed, providing easier access into the church and acoustic separation from the tower base, where toilets will be located discretely against the west wall. The pipe organ, which although contemporaneous with the Victorian extension was not designed for the church, is to be re-homed. The existing electronic organ will be repositioned in the organ bay, with partitioning to form a new chair- and-instrument store behind. The chancel step is to be straightened and extended. Improvements to the vestry, repairs to the building fabric and renewal and upgrading of building services will form part of the project which is currently out to tender with a view to starting work in summer 2019. 8