Conservation Heritage News United Kingdom

Church of England needs £3m to save its treasures

Bishop of London launches campaign to conserve 100 works of art

This wall painting dating from the 15th century at Waltham Abbey, Essex will cost £38,000 to restore

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, has launched a campaign to conserve 100 treasures in Anglican churches, and the Church of England hopes to raise £3m for their conservation.

Church Care, the central Anglican organisation that runs the campaign, points out that caring for over 16,000 churches in England is an enormous burden. Repairs to buildings cost a total of £115m a year, “to keep them watertight and fit for the 21st century”. Too often, there are simply no funds left for conserving works of art.

In a statement, Church Care says that 100 works have been identified as “most in need” of conservation, otherwise they will be “at risk of permanent damage and loss”. The average cost of each project works out to an estimated £30,000.

Among the treasures on the list are:

Wooden chest, 16th century, Newington, Kent

This is a rare survival of an early chest once used to store parish records. It has been severely affected by damp and woodworm, and some of the planks will need to be replaced. Without urgent action, the chest will simply disintegrate. Cost: £72,000.

Wall painting, 15th century, Waltham Abbey, Essex

The important wall painting of “Doom” (The Last Judgement) has deteriorated and the fragile paint is flaking off. The most likely cause is dampness in the wall, which needs to be dealt with promptly. Cost: £38,000.

William Morris carpet, around 1906, Roker, County Durham

The Morris-designed carpet is part of the original Arts & Crafts decorative scheme for the church. The carpet has suffered from wear and dirt from being walked upon, and needs to be cleaned and repaired. Cost: £26,000.

Brasses, 1419-21, Linwood, Lincolnshire

The funerary brasses commemorating the Lyndewood family have been damaged, because of wear and moisture. Rising damp has caused the most recent damage, including corrosion. The drainage needs to be improved and the brass treated. Cost: £26,000.

Della Robbia sculpture, 15th century, Nynehead, Somerset

The relief of the Virgin and Child is probably by Andrea della Robbia, a nephew of the master Luca. Salts are coming out of the wall behind the ceramic, which is damaging the sculpted relief. The wall needs repointing, to minimise this problem. Cost: £26,000.

It will cost £26,000 to preserve this ceramic relief of the Virgin and Child probably by Andrea della Robbia, a nephew of the master Luca
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18 Nov 13
2:10 CET


It is not generally recognised just how much of the UK's irreplaceable artistic heritage is to be found in our parish churches. Congregations face an uphill struggle to raise funds to keep historic buildings in good repair and to conserve the invaluable artefacts they contain. Thefts from churches is on the increase and some items are insufficiently secured. Grant funding is available, but too often it has to be supplemented by time consuming fundraising in the parish by means of fetes, flower festivals, art festivals, concerts etc., often all organised by a small group of volunteers. This campaign provides the potential to make a real difference, although more will always need to be done. Do support it if you can.

13 Nov 13
15:9 CET


This is a very worthy cause, to preserve the fabric and art treasures of the CofE. Please publish where relief contributions may be sent.

6 Nov 13
15:10 CET


Maybe they should give the works back the Roman Catholic Church, given that the art belonged to it prior to the obese tyrant's confiscation.

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