Witchert Wall Demolished

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Slight Signs of Drunkenness?
Off comes the invasive Ivy
Tiles Preserved for Re-use
Witchert body is demolished
Witchert material saved for later re-use

Concerns have been expressed recently about the state of the witchert wall that borders the Western edge of the footpath at the rear of Haddenham Parish Church — the route by which parents and children walk to St Mary's CE School.

Not only a listed structure, the wall was also seen to be 'listing' — its Northern most portion, near the churchyard exit, showing distinct signs of a lean in the direction of Tiggywinkles, to the East. The lean presented a risk of the wall falling onto the footpath itself. The drunkenness was a far cry from 'Tower of Pisa' standards, but enough of a trend away from perpendicular to raise safety concerns.

So, on Thursday 28th March, after the school holidays had commenced for Easter, work got underway to take down and preserve a significant section of the wall.

As a listed structure, the work came under the watchful eye of an AVDC building inspector. This was to ensure that as much of the original witchert material and capping tiles as possible could be preserved and stored for the future re-building of the wall.

Workers from Thame-based Chris Bowler company conducted the piece-by-piece demolition, during which process items of old ceramic, leather and wooden oddments were retrieved. Fragments of a surface-plastered wall were also found, suggesting that materials from an old witchert-based cottage had been re-used to build the church wall.

At some point the witchert wall will be re-instated. However, this is a specialist and relatively expensive procedure, and the coffers of Haddenham Parish Church do not currently run to this. Doubtless the Parochial Church Council would welcome and ringfence donations from anyone who has an interest in the historical significance of witchert walls in Haddenham, and a desire to see them preserved in the village.

Please click on any photo to enlarge.

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