By Tony Henthorn

Editor

07590 750128

villagetribuneeditor@mac.com

Collyweston slate explained

Collyweston slate expert, Darren Ellis (26), with Brian Morrell, Heritage Contracts Manager for the Messenger Company and Gabriella Misuriello (CCT Projects Manager) were happy to explain the intricacies of slating at Ufford Church Open Day in March. Around 200 visitors attended over the four hours the church was open. There will be another opportunity to see the church on Saturday 9th May and  it was hoped a children’s workshop would take place too on another date.

To live in a chocolate box stone cottage is a delight and privilege for many residents in our area. Repairs to a Collyweston slate roof, however, can be a worry as this is very expensive. You may think that there is no slate to be had, but, in fact we understand that there is still plenty to be got out of the ground. 
At the Open Day for Ufford Church, held recently, the Messenger Construction Company from Tinwell has the task of roof repairs.
The company has been chosen following a two-year pilot programme undertaken jointly with English Heritage, where an innovative process has been used. In days gone by, the slate was put out in the fields after mining so that it was split by the frost.
The pilot scheme saw the slate frozen mechanically and it has proved highly successful. Darren Ellis, who was apprenticed as a slater, and has worked on Burghley House, explained that the most challenging roofs are those with ‘swept’ valleys, where two roofs meet and the slate needs to curve around a corner.  
Slating is by no means a dying art, proven by the fact that Messenger have recently taken on a 19 year-old apprentice, Samuel Holmes.

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