Naughty Woodpeckers (or Squirrelpeckers)

Woodpecker holes in the bell tower
Woodpecker holes in the bell tower

Naughty woodpeckers! If you look at the size of the holes in the bell tower of St. Nicholas Church, Laindon with Dunton, Essex, it’s tempting to imagine that they have been made by an animal the size of a Weaselpecker (if you don’t know what I’m talking, google ‘Weaselpecker’ to find the photo of a weasel on a flying woodpecker’s back which is trending on social media at the moment). Although there are no photos of what is making the holes in the bell tower, the truth is more like a ‘Squirrelpecker’. Holes are initially made by woodpeckers looking for beetles and then squirrels enlarge the holes and cause damage inside the bell tower of the thirteenth century church.

Here’s some information about the bell tower and the bells it contains, from the St. Nicholas Church website which you can find here:

“During the 15th Century, the South Porch and the Bell Turret were added to the church. The Bell Turret is a highly complex structure which consists of two turrets, one inside the other, thereby allowing the timber frame to support the weight of the five bells Two of the bells date from the 15th Century and are inscribed in Latin. The Tenor bell dates from 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada. The date of the bell probably explains the popular stories about timber beams in the church coming from ships of the Armada. However, the beams were in place long before the Armada sailed.”

Bell in situ in the bell tower
Bell in situ in the bell tower

With so many holes in the tower, a lot of water is getting into the church and causing a great deal of damage, so the congregation are trying to raise the many thousands of pounds that are needed to make the building watertight and ensure future generations can enjoy the building.

The ebook ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ is raising money for this work as all profits from sales go towards the restoration fund. You can find ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ here or from your favourite ebook retailer.

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