Beer festival at Shrewsbury church raises concerns

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Plans to hold a beer festival in a redundant Shrewsbury church have prompted a national charity to hold a public meeting to discuss its future.

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, in Shrewsbury

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, in St Mary’s Street, was declared redundant in 1987 and since then has been in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), the national charity protecting historic churches at risk.

It has been a popular event venue in the town and these events, such as concerts and the annual Shrewsbury Chocolate Festival contribute to the running costs of the church.

Following concerns regarding a proposed beer festival at the church, CCT has organised a public meeting at the church at 6pm on Thursday, March 14, to address these matters and identify future fundraising opportunities for St Mary’s.

The Shrewsbury & West Shropshire Campaign for Real Ale Festival is due to take place at the church in July.

Previously held at the Morris Hall in Bellstone and latterly at The Wakeman, English Bridge, the festival attracts dozens of real ale producers and hundreds of drinkers from across the region.

CCT Head of Region, North, Judith Patrick said: “We want to ensure that any concerns are heard and acknowledged and we will be holding an open and transparent conversation about the future of St Mary’s. We see this as an opportunity to present information around the repair liabilities of the building and the challenges faced with keeping the church open.”

She added that the meeting would give all local residents, friends and stakeholders the opportunity to hear and discuss the urgent need to raise money for capital repairs and events taking place at the Church of St Mary the Virgin.

The church is on the National Heritage List for England and is Grade 1 and had one of the tallest spires in England for over 500 years.

It currently needs urgent repair work on the roof and to repair damage from a break-in and lead theft. These repairs are estimated to cost over £116,000 and in addition to this the annual utility and maintenance costs of the church are in excess of £23,000.

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Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.


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