Marlborough St Mary's takes another step towards completion with a 'Topping Out' ceremony
Marlborough’s new primary school, Marlborough St. Mary’s took a major step forward today with a “Topping Out’ ceremony.
Sited on the current St Mary’s Infant school site combined with the old Van Diemen allotments area of many years ago, the new school sits on an overall area of approximately six acres - with Ducks Meadow at one end and Van Diemen’s Close at the other (see aerial pic), offering children a spacious environment in which to learn and develop.
The ceremony was conducted by Bishop of Ramsbury - Right Reverend Ed Condry and Rev. Canon Andrew Studdert-Kennedy, Team Rector of Marlborough, along with Keir Construction Managing Director, Mark Pausey.
They were joined by staff, governors and pupils from St Mary’s as well as Richard Gamble and Clare Medland from Wiltshire Council, Susan House from the Education Funding Agency, and members of the Kier construction team.
‘Topping out,’ explained Mark Pausey, ‘is held when the building reaches its highest point. It was originally an ancient Scandinavian ceremony to appease the tree-living spirits who had been disturbed by the construction of a building.’
Traditionally an evergreen tree was placed at the top of the building but it is more usual today for an evergreen plant to be presented. Kier Construction have donated a Camelia to the school.
Bishop Ed of Ramsbury prayed for the future of the building and of the school, while Rev. Andrew Studdert-Kennedy read from St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. In the Christian tradition, Bishop Ed together with some pupils, blessed the building with holy water, splashing the bricks and fabric of the building using twigs of rosemary.
Headteacher Anne Schwodler said, “It is really lovely to have the input from the Bishop. We are a Church of England School and the Christian ethos is important to all of us.” The ceremony ended with pupils helping to lay some of the bricks on the outer wall and a tour of the building.
The £7m school will provide places for 420 children from reception to age 11 (Key stages 1 and 2) in a spacious single storey building. It will open in September 2017.
Aerial pic courtesy of and copyright of Flying Bear aerial photography - www.flyingbear.photos