World-famous Shrewsbury church to get £96,800 for urgent repairs

A church has received a £96,800 cash boost to pay for urgent repairs.

St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury
St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury

The Churches Conservation Trust has been awarded the money to pay for vital repairs to St Mary's Church in Shrewsbury, which has been left with a temporary roof covering after a lead theft.

The church, in St Mary's Square, is known around the world for its stained-glass windows, but has been subject to theft and vandalism in recent years.

The trust is one of 445 heritage organisations to get a share of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

A total of 18 churches in across the trust's estate will receive funding for different repair and conservation projects.

The large, much-visited church in the centre of town, needs high-level repairs, mainly to roof pinnacles, which were becoming increasingly dangerous.

The vestry roof, which was hit by the lead theft, will be replaced under the project, which would also stabilise the pinnacles along with associated high-level masonry repairs.

The famous stained glass windows in St Mary's Church Shrewsbury (credit: @ferch_hapus)

The grant requires 20 per cent match funding, and the Save St Mary’s campaign will continue to raise money for additional conservation and repair work at the church.

The Saxon building, which has one of the tallest spires in the UK, is home to an internationally renowned collection of stained glass windows dating back to the 15th century.

The church attracts visitors from around the world and it is said that no other church in the country has a collection equal to it.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past.

"This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post Covid.”

St Mary's Church is famous for its stained glass windows

Peter Aiers, chief executive of the Churches Conservation Trust said the charity was grateful for the funding.

"The trust, like many charities, has suffered financially because of the coronavirus pandemic and we face a significant fundraising gap due to having had to close churches," he said.

"This award will help us to continue saving these beautiful historic buildings, to keep them open for the public as well as supporting vital craft skills in the heritage sector.”

Chief executive of Historic England, Duncan Wilson, said it was heartening to see grants from the fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country in the wake of the pandemic.

"These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites," he said.

"The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”

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