Restoration work to begin on historic landmark

An historic landmark is due to undergo a major restoration project thanks to Malvern Hills District Council.

Work began on Monday (18 July) to carry out essential maintenance and repairs to the church tower in Upton upon Severn – known locally as the Pepperpot.

The project will cost £105,000 and is set to take 16 weeks to complete. It includes repairs to rotten timber in the cupola and bulls eyes, repairs to ornamental features which have been damaged by erosion and some masonry work. The rusted weather vane will be replaced and the lightning conductor upgraded to meet British standards.

Further work is planned next year to refurbish the inside of the building to include repairs to the internal staircase and the clock mechanism. Historic England has approved the planned work.

The project will be funded from the council’s capital budget for planned maintenance projects so will not have an impact on the provision of day to day services.

The tower is the oldest surviving building in the town and is of huge significance locally. The main body of the building is believed to date back to the 14th century, although the spire was replaced in 1770 with the hexagonal lantern and cupola, which give the tower its pepperpot appearance. It was declared an ancient scheduled monument in 1953.

The church it used to be part of was a key battle scene in the English Civil War having been held by Commonwealth troops against the royalists during the Battle of Upton and suffered significant damage during the fighting.

Today it houses the town’s tourist information and heritage centre which will remain open during the work.

Cllr Paul Cumming, portfolio holder for finance on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “Not only do we have a legal duty to carry out this work as it is a scheduled ancient monument, but I think we have a moral one as well. The building is of great significance in terms of local history and is one of the area's most distinctive landmarks so it’s important that we play our part in preserving this valuable piece of the district’s heritage.”