In the first few months of 2020 there was a full schedule of repairs to the Shrine Church Tower. We are pleased to report that all the windows have been restored, the damaged brickwork has been repaired and repointed, and the beautiful S. Gabriel weather-vane – which had been stuck in position for many years and almost snapped in two – has been repaired and re-gilded. All the funds raised through the Appeal have gone towards the restoration costs, providing the Shrine with much-needed financial assistance.
We remain hugely grateful to everyone who has supported the project so far and hope that you will be able to come to Walsingham in the year ahead to see the restoration work first-hand.
Thank you for your support.
Restoring the Shrine Church Tower to its former glory
We are deeply grateful to everyone who has supported the Shrine Church Tower Appeal. To date pilgrims from the UK, the US and Australia have contributed over £6,000 towards the restoration of the Shrine Church tower. This is in addition to the funds committed from the Shrine's own reserves for emergency building works.
We have been working with a number of local craftsmen and builders on the Shrine Church Tower project. Our thanks to Holkham Forge, Paul Bishop builders, Ivan Ashby and master gilder, Basil Huggins, who re-gilded S. Gabriel. This isn’t the first gilding job Basil has undertaken in Walsingham – Basil gilded the clock face of S. Mary’s church tower twenty-one years ago.
The first stage of repairs gets underway (January 2020)
Scaffolding has been erected around the Shrine Church Tower as the first stage of repairs gets underway.
When we inspected the weathervane in situ, we noticed that the post on which the Archangel sits was worryingly loose and wobbly. Further investigation revealed that the post has snapped in two. Owing to the broken post, we will need to climb to the top of the tower (internally) where the bells hang and remove the tongue and groove wood panelling to replace the post. Funds allowing, the next task is to dismantle the windows so that they can be sand-blasted and restored.
SHRINE LAUNCHES CHRISTMAS CHURCH TOWER APPEAL
It is with great excitement and hope that we encourage your participation in the Tower Appeal for the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Shrine has been a powerful witness to the intercession of Our Lady for the life and health of the world. Though scattered far and wide, we who are devoted to Our Lady can now share in a tangible way through this appeal and give something back to Her and Her Shrine. Please give generously, and let the bells ring out in Walsingham!
Fr. Jeffery Queen, President, US Friends of Our Lady of Walsingham
This Christmas and New Year we are inviting pilgrims to help the Shrine to raise £25,000 ($32,000) for vital repairs to the Shrine Church Tower. Despite a regular maintenance programme carried out by the Shrine, there have been no substantial repairs to the Church Tower since it was erected in 1938 and urgent restoration work is now needed. The windows are bulging out, the brickwork is deteriorating and rain water is seeping through the mortar, and the iconic S. Gabriel weather vane has been stuck in the same position for many years and needs re-gilding. The damage to the windows has become a serous concern and the safety of staff and visitors is paramount.
The Shrine Church has been a focal point for life here at Walsingham for over 80 years, and the church tower overlooking the gardens is an important landmark and a welcome site for thousands of pilgrims arriving each year. We have a duty of care to ensure that the building is preserved for future generations and is very much our hope that our US Friends will support our Christmas appeal to raise £25,000 for the urgent restoration work that is needed.
The Revd. Kevin Smith, Priest Administrator, The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
The Shrine Church in 1938