*** DEBUG END ***

Castors on pews get things rolling

23 September 2016


On castors: a close-up of the wheels on the pews

On castors: a close-up of the wheels on the pews

IT IS the work of but ten minutes, and some physical effort, to transform the nave of St John the Baptist’s, Littlehempston, into a cinema, zumba class, or dance hall.

Thanks to the brainwave of a former Rector, the Revd Nicholas Pearkes, the pews are on lockable castors, easily rolled away when space is needed, then back into place for worship.”

It was a real team effort,” Mr Pearkes said this week. “The whole village was behind it, and it has done wonders for the community.”

With no village hall, Littlehempston, in Devon, is short of venues for community gatherings. In 2010, with a congregation of 12 and funds dwindling, there were also concerns about the future of the church. Mr Pearkes’s solution was to enable the community to hold events in the nave.

The pews on wheels — a task undertaken by a former shipwright — came after other works of ingenuity by Mr Pearkes, who in his spare time works on a boat. He had previously put a heavy altar on castors, and created a kitchen-on-wheels to avoid having to move a bell-ringing platform. Smoother new flooring was put in place to ensure easy wheeling, and underfloor heating was added.

Although it took “quite a while” to get the proposal for pews on wheels through the diocean advisory committee, Mr Pearkes said that “we did not have a single grumble from the village,” and that English Heritage praised it as a “sympathetic conversion”.

It had been great fun to work on the project, assisted by so many in the village, he said, and others were welcome to adopt the idea. Already, the church is receiving two to three inquiries a week.


Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available


Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)