Hidden messages uncovered as slates are blown off Shrewsbury Abbey roof

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Slates blown off the roof of Shrewsbury Abbey during Storm Ciara have uncovered hidden messages.

Tiles on the Shrewsbury Abbey roof were blown off during Storm Ciara

Morning prayers were being said at 8.30am on Sunday when the congregation heard a loud bang as the tiles were torn from the roof and landed in the graveyard.

And when Revered Tom Atfield went to investigate he found messages scratched on the back of the tiles.

In 1984 the Abbey launched a fundraiser to pay for the building to be re-roofed.

Rev Tom Atfield with one of the sponsored roof tiles from 1984
One of the sponsored roof tiles from 1984

Rev Atfield said: "The section of the roof that was hit by the storm was actually part of a sponsorship drive in 1984 to re-roof it.

"People were able to buy a slate and scratch a message onto the back of it. It was a major piece of fundraising at the time and it raised a huge amount of money.

"There was about 60 slates in total and we never expected to see them again."



Rev Atfield said while it is unfortunate that the roof has been damaged, it is a timely reminder of the support people gave to the Abbey all those years ago.

"Yes it's a shame that there has been some damage but I think there's also a much happier story here," he said.

"It's a good chance for us to remember all of those people who bought a slate and say thank you to them."


Damage to the Abbey in Shrewsbury. Photo: Rev Tom Atfield

He said most slates were engraved with names, dates and addresses, and that volunteers are currently trying to piece them back together.

It is hoped some of them can be reunited with their owner.

"If anyone who bought a slate back then would like to get in touch with us we would love to hear from them," he added.

"In the meantime we have been in touch with our insurance and will be getting emergency repair work underway as soon as possible."

The damaged Abbey roof

Storm Ciara left thousands of homes across the country without power and caused widespread disruption on the UK transport network.

Part of the roof above the main pool at the Quarry Pool and Fitness Centre was damaged, forcing the site to shut on Monday, while Telford & Wrekin Council dealt with more than 35 fallen trees on Sunday.

And the poor weather continued on Monday, with snow falling across Shropshire as the clean-up from the storm continued.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.


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