Turnastone, St Mary Magdalene – old and new working together for the future

Turnastone took its name from the Norman Ralph of Tournai who settled there and the present building shows 12th- and 12th-century work creating a simple open space of some elegance. The fine monument to Thomas AparrI (ApHarry/Parry) d.1522 and his wife speaks of continuity of use and worship despite a parish population of perhaps a couple of dozen, and the fine barrel roof of c,1500, a major restoration in the 1880s, and another recently in 2016-18 show how resilient manby “marginal” churches can be. Striking in that regard is the national pilot project to build a fully-reversible “Holiday Accommodation Pod” in the church (see the picture of the model and http://www.wyedoreparishes.org.uk/Turnastone_files/AccomUnit.htm) which is currently being adjudicated. To my mind it offers a win-win, providing good visitor accommodation, supporting local businesses, and generating funds to maintain the building, without prejudicing its historic fabric. When I was chair of the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Conservation Trust my repeated message was that it is living use that best guarantees historic conservation.