Work to save church’s historic bell tower in Hailsham

Work to save Hailsham's 14th century bell tower
Work to save Hailsham's 14th century bell tower

Work to save Hailsham’s 14th century bell tower will begin on Monday (April 7) after the roots of two large trees threatened the foundations of St Mary’s Church.

Wealden District Council has approved a request by the Diocese of Chichester for a large cedar tree and a birch tree to be removed from the churchyard to help save the bell tower.

Hailsham’s vicar, the Rev David Bourne, said the work would mean there would be a view of the church from the shopping precinct that has not been seen for almost 100 years.

He said: “The cedar began growing in the churchyard some 80 years ago, and at the time must have been an attractive addition to the churchyard.

“However, as it has grown over the years, its root structure has begun to interfere with the tower’s foundations.

“Preventative action is unfortunately necessary if we are to avoid damage to Hailsham’s historic church tower.

“The tree work taking place will result in a new view of the church from the shopping precinct which has not been seen for nearly 100 years.”

The work has been welcomed by local Wealden ward councillors Barry Marlowe and Nick Collinson.

Cllr Barry Marlowe said: “Both the cedar and the birch are prominent features of the churchyard but a structural survey has indicated the risk to the church and other buildings in the area which cannot be ignored.

“Preventative action needs to be taken.

“St Mary’s is an important part of this historic market town’s heritage.

“We must not put it in peril.”

The Diocese of Chichester’s request for the tree work was approved by Wealden District Council.

The council said work is expected to begin on Monday (April 7) .

Wealden District Council said the changes will involve parts of the churchyard being closed to the public to enable the work to be carried out safely.

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