Warwick's iconic St Mary's Church gets much-needed funding to help complete restoration work

The announcement comes as the Rev Canon Vaughan Roberts retires following nearly 20 years as Vicar of St Mary’s.
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Warwick's iconic St Mary's Church has got a much-needed funding boost to help complete the ongoing restoration work.

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Thanks to a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the church now has the funds for the restoration of the tower.

Scaffolding has now reached the top of St Mary's Tower ahead of restoration work taking place. Photo by Geoff OusbeyScaffolding has now reached the top of St Mary's Tower ahead of restoration work taking place. Photo by Geoff Ousbey
Scaffolding has now reached the top of St Mary's Tower ahead of restoration work taking place. Photo by Geoff Ousbey

The urgent need for the repairs, costing £1.4million, became apparent after a piece of masonry fell from the tower into the street in 2021.

At the end of a fundraising campaign lasting more than a year, the outgoing Vicar, Vaughan Roberts and the churchwardens received close to £250,000, allowing them to start the conservation work, repairing the stonework and masonry.

Scaffolding is now up to the top of the tower and as of early March contractors and conservation specialists will start repairing the stonework, windows, turrets and heraldic shields.

This has been a team effort with contributions from individual donors, local authorities, Warwick Town and District Councils, King Henry VIII Endowed Trust, National Churches Trust, Benefact Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, a range of local and national charitable funders, and St Mary’s Church itself.

Scaffolding has now reached the top of St Mary's Tower ahead of restoration work taking place. Photo by Geoff OusbeyScaffolding has now reached the top of St Mary's Tower ahead of restoration work taking place. Photo by Geoff Ousbey
Scaffolding has now reached the top of St Mary's Tower ahead of restoration work taking place. Photo by Geoff Ousbey

Everyone at St Mary’s Church has said that they have been impressed by the way Warwick has pulled together in an effort to preserve its much-loved tower.

The Rev Canon Vaughan Roberts, ending his nearly 20 years as Vicar of St Mary’s, says: “I am delighted that, as I retire, this vital fundraising campaign has been successfully completed.

"And that I know the church’s landmark tower will be repaired and restored. I’m enormously grateful to the team at St Mary’s, Craigmyle (our fundraising partners) and all who have supported us in this brilliant achievement.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund award also includes support for a new project, where St Mary’s will be developing a pilot community and visitor engagement programme.

Scaffolding has now reached the top of St Mary's Tower ahead of restoration work taking place. Photo by Geoff OusbeyScaffolding has now reached the top of St Mary's Tower ahead of restoration work taking place. Photo by Geoff Ousbey
Scaffolding has now reached the top of St Mary's Tower ahead of restoration work taking place. Photo by Geoff Ousbey

This will involve a range of young people from around Warwickshire and use the latest in digital technology to tell St Mary’s story through the ages.

The tower will now be surrounded by scaffolding and boarded up, and works are expected to last until the end of the year.

There are due to be some road closures around the church during some of the building works. To check this go to: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/roadworksmap

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