Feces from the bats used to flood the pews following every service at All Saints Church in a situation a local member of parliament (MP), Sir Alan Duncan, called, “absolutely intolerable” back in 2014.
An instance occurred when a vicar reportedly had to shake bat droppings out of his hair while celebrating Holy Communion at the altar, according to the BBC.
Unfortunately for the church, bats are a protected species thanks to the dramatic decrease in numbers over the past century and cannot be removed.
All Saints Church, however, was one of the first to benefit from roughly $4.3 million dollars of Heritage Lottery Funds, used to learn how bats impact churches and to find solutions.
The Bat in Churches project used All Saints Church as a guinea pig for their new method of solving the guano problem by filling in gaps in the ceiling to prevent urine and feces from getting through.
“We had to clean the pews every time, it took an hour before every single service, Sue Willetts, church warden at All Saints Church, told the BBC. “Before, we had covers down on the floors to collect the droppings. Now we use the church how it’s meant to be.”
Rosemary Riddell from the Bat in Churches project says work on All Saints Church “has enabled us to sort of roll out solutions to other churches similar to Braunstone and it’s really helped us to learn from their experiences”.
The project is now working on helping 100 other churches in England that are home to the large bats.
We’re grateful for their engagement and involvement,” Riddell said.
Bats are believed to live in up to 6,400 churches throughout the United Kingdom.