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Mirfield Team Parish St Mary’s appeal wins Heritage Lottery Fund support
Mirfield Team Parish has received a confirmed grant of £181,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the St. Mary’s Appeal project, it was announced today.
Designed by renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, St Mary’s in Mirfield is an important and striking Anglican church. In recent years however weathering and metal theft have put the Grade II listed building at risk.
A programme of essential repairs and maintenance will be carried out to rectify the damage, particularly for the tower and roof. Inside there are plans to improve community access, particularly for schools, and to display the heritage in the church’s care to the best advantage.
The project will help ensure that the tower is in good order for many years to come. Whilst ensuring the building is sound and safe, Mirfield Team Parish are also working with the local community to increase the amount that can be enjoyed and done within it. In addition to the building itself, with its own architectural and historical heritage, we are home to a number of other items of interest such as the significant stained glass windows, the Celtic Mirfield Stone, a book of homilies and a mediaeval grave slab. The project will ensure that these and the other heritage items in the church’s care are displayed and labelled to their best advantage.
Local school, the Friends of St Mary’s and the wider community are invited to come and learn about this wonderful place and the heritage within it and the project aims to enhance the experience visitors get. An area within the church has been identified as ideal, particularly for schools, to work in and from during their time at the church. Look out for the Heritage open days and workshops planned, come along and get involved.
The building is a focal point for the local community and its easily identifiable image was adopted for use on the welcome signs for Mirfield. It is greatly valued by those who use it for worship and community use, concerts, educational visits etc and is currently used by over 60 community groups. It was designed by the famous architect Sir George Gilbert Scott and completed in 1871. For 142 years this wonderful building has been at the heart of Mirfield through the round of worship, season by season and Sunday by Sunday, the concerts and school visits, its music and bells and so much more. Many have come to love this place through weekly services or Midnight Mass and Easter sunrise. Many more will have known the countless happy times of weddings and Christenings, flower festivals, and family fun days. Others will have come to know of its power to bring comfort and peace in times of sadness and loss. St. Mary’s is the home for many of Mirfield’s uniformed organisations and the long running Pantomime that saw the early acting debut of local lad Patrick Stewart.
The known history of the site dates back over 1,000 years and evidence of the churches and other buildings including the castle (circa 1086) can be found inside and in the surrounding grounds of St. Mary’s.
Rev’d Hugh Baker Vicar of Mirfield Team Parish said “We are all delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given this support. St. Mary’s church is a wonderful building with an amazing history and it has played a central role in the lives of Mirfield folk for many years. To see the sandstone crumble and the timbers decay is heartbreaking but we now have a real chance to keep St. Mary’s here and fully used for generations to come.”
Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: ““Places of worship have many fascinating stories to tell, and are among the UK’s most historic buildings. This money will pay for urgent repairs, restore historic features and help to bring St Mary’s Church alive for visitors, as well as helping to secure the future of this much-loved building for the local community to continue to enjoy.”
If we all do a little this huge target is achievable... if a few of us are left with the responsibility of raising this amount it seems very daunting. We need YOUR support! Contact details below: