Salisbury Diocese "very sorry" about Amesbury church roof

Salisbury Diocese "very sorry" about Amesbury church roof

Published by Jack Deery at 5:46am 20th January 2020. (Updated at 6:18am 20th January 2020)

4 minute read

The diocese say they can only give St Mary and St Melor church a loan to help save the building.

The Diocese of Salisbury say they are "very sorry" to hear about the major problem that St Mary and St Melor Church in Amesbury has with it's roof, but can't give them any money. 

As reported on Spire FM the building is less than two months away from potentially caving in, as one of the wooden trusses which holds the ceiling up is severely damaged.

 

St Mary and St Melor Church in Amesbury - Jack
The church roof is at risk of collapsing due to the damage

It's going to cost £350,000 to repair, and they need the money in March to pay upfront, otherwise it risks being shut permanently. 

Head of Fundraising, Mark Verbinnen, has started up a petition to call on the Diocese of Salisbury to donate to the fund, which has been signed by over 450 people. 

But the Diocese has now responded saying they are unable to give any cash but are offering support and help during the process. 

A spokesperson said: 

"We are very sorry indeed to learn that Amesbury Abbey, (also known as St Mary and St Melor), has a major problem with its roof.

It is a shock to everyone and will be costly to repair. The Church of England is made up of more than 16,000 churches. The vast majority are Grade One and Two listed.  As places of worship they are central to the life of their community. 

Churches are maintained by the generosity of their congregations and communities who do a wonderful job in caring for and funding them. A very large number of people are involved and we are grateful for their hard work.
The Church of England has no funds centrally to maintain and repair churches. 

Nor does the Diocese of Salisbury have the funds to cover the cost of the restoration and renovation of the nearly 500 churches in our area. However, we offer support and help with sourcing funds and with grant applications. As part of the Diocese of Salisbury, the Abbey Church at Amesbury will be supported and advised in their effort to raise the finances necessary for its renewal. It is a wonderful building and an important part of the historic town."

LOAN AVAILABLE

The Diocese has said it can loan St Mary and St Melor money to help towards the repairs though and will give it's backing towards grant applications for funding elsewhere.

"The Archdeacon of Sarum has met with the Church Wardens and Parish Priest at Amesbury Abbey and was able to explain that the Diocese is able to assist them with an immediate loan up to £50k. We hope this will encourage other charities they have not yet approached. 

The Archdeacon also said that the Diocese would provide written support for the current grant applications. He will also meet with Architect and Structural Engineer to determine an interim phased remedial works to ensure the building is safe."

St Mary and St Melor Church in Amesbury - Jack
They have just two months to save the building

They can offer the church a loan of £50,000, which they hope will mean others will get involved. 

But Mark has said that the loan does not cover the shortfall as their public donations are still around £200,000 under their target.

St Mary and Melor just giving page
They have received a lot of public donations, but are still way off their target

Speaking to Spire FM about the church, Mark said

"This church has a lot of history, it was an abbey, parts of it are 1000 years old and there's actually a queen of England buried here as well. 

It is the heart of Amesbury and the town was built around this abbey and we are the generation that are imminently going to see it's destruction."

You can donate to the Just Giving page here

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