Kent church roof threatened by death watch beetles

  • 17 November 2010
  • From the section Kent
The chancel of St Mary of Charity
Image caption The beetles have threatened the roof's safety

An infestation of death watch beetles has closed part of one of Kent's largest churches.

The roof of St Mary of Charity Church in Faversham is in danger of collapsing and needs £50,000 of repairs.

Church warden Dennis Parrett said: "We're going to have to put scaffolding up to make sure it doesn't come down."

The church is more than 700 years old and is said to house the remains of King Stephen, the grandson of William the Conqueror.

The death watch beetle lays its eggs in old hard wood, in particular oak timbers.

The larvae live in the wood for up to ten years, before pupating, and the adults gnaw their way to the surface leaving characteristic exit holes.

In April, £800 of lead was stolen from the church roof, and some lead sheeting was left damaged at the scene.

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