Radstone, St Lawrence
At the end of a narrow, grassy footpath lies the serene medieval church of St Lawrence in the tiny rural hamlet of Radstone.
Dating from C12th and C13th, with the south aisle and porch added in C14th, this Grade I listed church is renowned for its peaceful atmosphere.
The church was restored in the 1850s and many of the interior fittings and furnishings are Victorian, although the stone tub font is medieval.
The church interior is spartan, elegant and harmonious, with the daylight flooding through the traceried windows reflected by the bare stone walls. The tranquillity of the church will be threatened by HS2 which is expected to pass around 300m to the south-west.
Due to the large numbers of bats using the church, services could no longer be held inside the building. However, following bat mitigation works the church is now back in use as a place of worship and community space. A rededication service was held in December 2021.
St Lawrence’s church is home to a large, well-established and important maternity colony of around 200 Natterer’s bats, as well as a smaller number of common pipistrelles.
The bats socialised and roosted inside the church. The resulting mess and smell meant that services were suspended in August 2016.
Following licensed surveys in 2019, the ecologist, in consultation with the PCC and church architect, and with the agreement of heritage experts, devised a plan to create a roost and flight space within a false ceiling in the chancel and also to enhance the roosting options in the bell tower.
The aim was to secure the bat roosts and significantly reduce the amount of bat mess inside the church by separating the roosting areas from the main body of the church and preventing the bats from accessing the church interior. More details can be found here.
The work was carried out in October 2020 and the bats started using some of these enhanced roosting areas in 2021.
Monitoring will continue for several years to ensure the bat colony at St Lawrence continues to thrive.
Led by expert volunteers from the Nene Valley Bat Group the church hosted its first ever bat night in September 2022, which was filmed for BBC2 Songs of Praise and broadcast on 20 November 2022. The bat night proved very successful and generated much interest in the church bats.
The project designed bespoke interpretation to tell the story of the church bats.