Church must find £5 million for vital repairs

St Mary's church, Beverley
St Mary's church, Beverley

St Mary’s Parish Church in Beverley is facing an urgent repair bill of more than £5 million.

Rev Becky Lumley

Rev Becky Lumley

Vital repairs are needed to stonework on the pinnacles and parapet, which is said to be deteriorating at “an alarming rate.”

The upper clerestory windows, particularly on the north side, are also in need of urgent attention because their surroundings are badly corroding.

A grant of £69,400 has already been received this week from the Listed Places of Worship Fund, but church leaders say they are looking to the Heritage Lottery Fund and private trusts as well as donations from local people to raise more cash.

Vicar of St Mary’s, Rev Becky Lumley said: “St Mary’s is an amazing building but it is also a place where so many people gather for peace and prayer, for social action and community. We want to keep doing those things and we want to be able to welcome people for future generations into this incredible space.”

The £69,400 has been awarded specifically to repair the 150-year-old drains which have become silted up over the decades and cause the crypt area to flood whenever there is heavy rainfall.

That has led to the fire service being called out on more than one occasion in order to pump out the flood water. Meanwhile, a further £30,000 has been raised from donations from local people, including £10,000 in the last three months.

Significant masonry work is also needed on the tower, particularly around the circular windows.

St Mary’s projects and grants manager Richard Porter said: “The church isn’t falling down or anything, but the architect is saying we need to do the work now as a matter of urgency to prevent it getting to that stage. When you go up on the roof you can really see the state of decay.”

He added: “There’s still a long, long way to go but the plan is to make as many fund raising applications as we can and to continue with the fundraising drive locally which people are working so hard to make happen.”

The church, built in four stages between the years 1120 and 1525, was described as “the finest parish church in England” by renowned church architect Sir Ninian Comper (1864 - 1960), and the poet Sir John Betjeman agreed with him in a letter of 1973.

If you would like to donate please visit www.justgiving.com/stmarysbeverley/ or text STMC22 £10 to 70070. If you’d like to organise an event to raise funds for the church please get in touch through its website www.stmarysbeverley.org/