Peakirk, St Pega’s
The 11th Century church of St Pega’s is Grade I listed and boasts a series of rare 14th Century wall paintings that were discovered in the 1950s having been limewashed over during the reign of Edward VI (1547-53).
The surviving images include Christ’s Passion Cycle, St Christopher and the two moralities, and an unusual warning to church gossips that depicts two women in medieval dress being encouraged by a devil pressing their heads together
St Pega’s church took part in the Bats in Churches project because they were sheltering a large maternity colony of soprano pipistrelle bats that were flying through the interior of the church and causing mess and upset for the church community.
In 2018, much of the lead roofing was stolen putting the wall paintings and bats at risk. A temporary roof was installed, but it was necessary to re-roof the church during a short window at the end of 2019 due to the type of bat roost present and the need to gain permission from the Diocese.
This provided an opportunity for the project to incorporate bat mitigation measures in the re-roofing plans to stop the bats from flying through the church, whilst preserving a place for them to roost within the roof structure. The ecologist used a Bats in Churches class license from Natural England to survey the roost over the summer, which was happily still in residence and 300 strong despite the temporary roof, and to include a bat box in the architect’s plans.
The bat roost will be monitored for several more years to see if the population has been affected by the new roof and measures to keep them out of the church interior.