What is the purpose of a church steeple?

Steeples are commonly seen on Christian churches because they enhance the lines of the building and create an aesthetically pleasing effect. The shape and design is also said to have been created to naturally attract attention and draw the eyes heavenward, encouraging a sense of spirituality and religious contemplation.

The steeple also makes the structure stand out from surrounding buildings. This was important for three reasons. Firstly it was believed that the steeple could be used to help people tell the time by noting the position of the sun. Secondly it would house the bells and ensure they were elevated above other buildings so the sound wouldn’t be blocked and would therefore travel further. Finally, the height of the structure meant people would see it so they would know where to go to worship, even if they were new to the area.

Unfortunately the height of the steeples can also cause potential problems. The size means they tower above the rest of the building, leaving them exposed to all weather conditions. It also makes it tricky to monitor wear and tear and carry out repairs. As a result the building materials can get worn and damaged, potentially putting the stability of the whole spire at risk.

Inspecting and repairing church steeples takes a lot of skill and experience. The height and difficulty of accessibility mean that a safe, secure solution is needed. Typically this will be scaffolding but it could also involve abseil or platform access if it is possible. It is crucial to choose the right option for each specific property, accounting for the stability of the structure and maximising safety.

At J Lacey Steeplejacks Contractors we regularly take on church restoration projects, alongside a wide range of other industrial services including masonry repairs, lead work and even repairing weathervanes. No matter what kind of project we are working on, we will work hard to maximise safety for all parties. This can include installing netting to offer protection against falling debris.

If you would like to arrange a professional inspection for a church steeple please contact us. We will provide a clear assessment of the condition and give you recommendations of work we feel is needed to repair and stabilise the structure.