Church where Shakespeare married in urgent need of repair - The Stratford Observer

Church where Shakespeare married in urgent need of repair

Stratford Editorial 20th Jun, 2023   0

A CHURCH in south Warwickshire where Shakespeare is believed to have married has launched a £250,000 appeal for urgently needed repairs.

St Andrews in Temple Grafton has been included on The Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Buildings list 2023 having been on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register since 2018.

The medieval Gothic church was built to replace an Anglo-Saxon church which has long been thought to be where William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway tied the knot in 1582.

A church spokesman said: This year we’ve undertaken some critical urgent repairs, and carried out some investigation works to help us along, but there is still so much more to do. The most recent inspection (2023) reports the need for urgent major repairs which we anticipate will cost more than £250,000.

“Perhaps surprisingly, we (as with all Parish Church Councils) receive no funding for the upkeep and repair of our church buildings, and all necessary repairs are funded through local fundraising and grant applications. The scale of repair task ahead of us, and the funds we need to raise to complete this, feels so very far beyond our ability to manage.

“We are so fortunate in this country to have such a rich heritage of ecclesiastical architecture with wonderful and interesting stories, that we feel it’s hugely important that we do all we can to enable as many people as possible to experience them and marvel at them, just like we’ve had the opportunity to do.”

Celebrated local architect Frederick Preedy designed and built the medieval Gothic church to replace the Anglo-Saxon church which demolished in 1873 owing to its dilapidated condition.

But the Victorian replacement itself now needs urgent repairs to the distinctive timber framed tower, roof and high level stonework.

A Victorian Society spokesman said: “The church now has serious structural issues. Services can’t be held as oak shingles on the roof and spire are loose and unsafe. The belfry, rainwater goods, and high level stonework are in extremely poor condition.

“Scaffolding was erected in March when the congregation funded initial emergency repairs, but much more extensive works are now needed to secure the church’s future.”

The church was funded by William Carlisle, a Victorian thread manufacturer, who also built the new school, cottages, and vicarage along with a new house for himself.

The church’s decoration includes tiles and stained glass illustrating the village’s links to the Knights Hospitallers who had a preceptory close by that gave the village its name.

The church also includes stained glass designed by Preedy – the only architect of his time who designed and made his own stained glass windows, which can also be seen in the cathedrals of Worcester, Gloucester, and Ely.

Comedian and TV presenter Griff Rhys Jones, who is president of the Victorian Society, appealed for people to support the fund-raising appeal.

“It is just magnificent. The heart of many country villages is the church, and this is a gem. We cannot let it go.  It would be a tragedy if Temple Grafton were to lose a second church.”

Visit to support the appeal.


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