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Old school ties? Ancient church to join up to Bradfield College

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A listed 14th-century church in Bradfield is to be transformed into a study centre for Bradfield College.

Plans to adapt the Church of St Andrew have been approved by West Berkshire Council and will see a link built between the church and Gray School.

Bradfield College bought the church from the Oxford Diocese last year.

It said the acquisition of the Grade II-listed church would secure historic ties.

St Andrew’s was originally constructed in the 14th century and has been closely associated with Bradfield College since the mid-19th century when founder Thomas Stevens, the local parson, expanded the church substantially along with his friend, the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott.

The foundation of the college in 1850 is reputed to stem from the founder’s desire to enhance his church choir with young choristers.

The college now has its own chapel, so retaining the church as a place of worship was not considered a viable option.

St Andrew’s will be converted into a learning centre for the college, including a library, seminar rooms, and a dedicated presentation space and refreshment area.

The application lists details on how the developers hope to transform the old church to make it fit for purpose while retaining the architectural features.

The works include removing headstones of graves beneath the link building to a new main burial ground.

The old iron work on the doors is to get a refurb but some of the old latches will be trimmed back to allow for modern fittings.

The new library reception desk will be installed in front of the railings between the south transept and the chancel.

Due to the leaky nature of the listed building, planners have added destratification fans to the design in the main body of the church.

These fans reverse the natural convection process by recirculating warm air back down to ground level.

The fans will be located at the highest points in each area of the church and will be hung from the existing rafters/ridge beams.

Plinth heaters have been added to the vestry office and in the additional storage at the reception desk, to provide the necessary heat requirements.

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