Fallen angels at St Mary’s church, Warwick are restored to position on high
PARISH administrator Felicity Bostock is delighted that the outside wall of the 15th century Beauchamp chapel in St Mary’s Church has now been restored and all the ornate angels’ heads in the nave made safe.
Last December one of the heavy plasterwork heads crashed down into the gift shop inside the historic church.
It was little short of miraculous that none of the church volunteers, or visitors, were in the shop at the time.
The rector, Dr Vaughan Roberts, immediately called for all the other seven angels’ heads to be checked and it was found that another one was loose and in danger of falling.
A strip of stone cornice leading down into the chapel also had to be removed.
Early next year the Collegiate Church - the tenth most visited in the country - will launch a major £1.5 million restoration appeal.
But in the short term, Mrs Bostock is just relieved that some £23,000 worth of ceiling and wall repairs have been successfully completed after the parish dug into its emergency maintenance reserves and received a £1,000 contribution from the Warwickshire and Coventry Historic Churches Trust.
She added: “We are in the early stages of preparing a wider fundraising campaign to help care for this historic building which means so much to local people and visitors, even if they are not church-goers.
“We’re also really grateful for the support of the mayor of Warwick, Cllr Elizabeth Higgins, who has made our repairs one of her charities for 2012/13.”
During the recent renovations architects and contractors took the opportunity of strengthening a stonework arch. They have also sealed an area in the nave ceiling where water was leaking through and which led to the loosening of the mouldings.
Mrs Bostock said: “The angel’s face was so badly damaged that it had to be completely remade using a mixture of lime plaster and goat’s hair, rather than what was probably horsehair. Another face was restored but had new wings added.”
In the past few weeks, visitors to St Mary’s have been confronted by scaffolding covering the whole of the south aisle. The gift shop, which was temporarily moved to the other side of the nave, has also had a makeover and is open in support of the church’s wider ministry.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Warwick
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North