An historic church in Hampshire has had its roof restored to its former glory, with help from two former colleagues who had not seen each other for nearly thirty years.

The roof of St John the Evangelist’s Church in Northington, a Grade II* Listed building constructed in the 1880s, had fallen into disrepair and needed specially made terracotta ridge tiles as part of work to restore it.

When Richard Angold, Area Sales Manager for building product manufacturer Forterra, visited Northington to collect a sample of the old ridge tiles to make the replacements needed, he was surprised to meet with contractor Chris Newman, of TM Roofing, who was managing the project. The pair had worked together at another roofing firm in the 1980s.

Forterra’s Richard Angold said: “I work in the area and was going to take the sample ridge tile up to our plant in Measham for our roofing experts to make a mould. I did a double take when I saw it was Chris who would be working on the roof, as I really didn’t expect to see him there, and it was pleasure to catch up with him.”

Richard took the sample tile from Chris and passed it on to Forterra’s roofing experts, Red Bank, to make a mould from which around 100 new bespoke ridge tiles were made for the roof. The ridge tiles were delivered to St John’s over the summer, and Chris and his team completed the installation job in early November.

Chris Newman, Manager of TM Roofing, said: “It was a nice surprise meeting Richard again after all these years. We’ve both stayed in the construction sector but have come a long way since then. He and everyone else at Forterra were excellent to work with on this restoration project, and the results of the job are there for all to see.”

The restoration work on the church, which was built by Sir Thomas Graham Jackson, one of the most distinguished architects of the Victorian era, and is seen as the finest example of his ecclesiastical works, was paid for in part by a £99,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery’s Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund and also by donations from local parishioners.

Michael Brodrick, Church Warden of St John the Evangelist’s, said: “I’m delighted with how the newly restored church roof looks and am very pleased with the speed and dedication of Forterra, TM Roofing and the project’s architects Seymour & Bainbridge.

“It was essential to find a company which could provide an exact replica of the original ridge tiles because the Church has remained largely unaltered, both inside and out, since it was consecrated in 1890.

“I’m extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery’s Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund for giving us funding for the work, and of course members of the local parish for donating towards the restoration of the church roof, which looks superb.”

Red Bank from Forterra produces one of the UK’s most comprehensive ranges of chimney and roofing components. Their products include ridge tiles, fire-backs, clay and concrete flue liners and chimney pots.

Photo caption: Former colleagues Richard Angold, of Forterra (left), and Chris Newman of TM Roofing (right), outside St John the Evangelist’s Church in Northington, with Michael Brodrick, the Church Warden (centre). Richard is holding a new ridge tile from Red Bank, while Chris holds one of the original ridge tiles which needed replacing.