Crucial work is under way at Beverley Minster to restore part of its crumbling fabric and tell its remarkable story of Sanctuary thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £406,700 awarded last year. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on the Minster’s Lesser South Transept with the works involving re-leading the roof, repairing the roof timbers, conserving crumbling stonework and improving the lead gutters.
The building conservation work has reached its next crucial stage. Now the timbers have been repaired and strengthened where necessary, the gutters renewed and the roof recovered, the temporary roof can be taken off. The white sheeting that has shrouded part of the roof and been prominent across the town since the Spring has been crucial in protecting the Minster’s precious interior whilst the re-leading work was underway, but can now be removed to reveal the new roof.
The total weight of the new lead is 16 tonnes (more than the weight of a double decker bus), and it took four men 10 weeks to install - all completed within the government’s social distancing guidelines for construction work.
The previous lead is thought to have been over 200 years old. When it was stripped off, it was melted down and then re-formed back into lead bays for re-use on the Lesser South Transept.
The building restoration work is being carried out by Messenger Construction and is expected to be completed in January 2021.
Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will also help tell afresh to the present generation the Minster’s historic and nationally significant story of providing a right of sanctuary to those who could be, in those days, subject to mob justice or family vengeance.
Stone markers approximately two miles from the Minster (the remnants of three of which still survive today) were therefore a welcome sight for desperate people fleeing from their pursuers.
Commenting on the progress with the work, Reverend Canon Jonathan Baker, vicar of Beverley Minster, said “Caring for the fabric of this important historic building is a big responsibility and so we are delighted to see the completion of the restoration work to the Lesser South Transept’s roof. We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident the project will support people to appreciate the building’s heritage and raise awareness of the Minster’s role in sanctuary both in past and present times.”
David Renwick, Director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: “It’s great to see that the work to restore the fabric of Beverley Minster to its former glory is moving at a pace. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this heritage treasure of the North now boasts a wonderful new roof, and can continue sharing the historic and nationally significant story of providing a right of sanctuary with its community and beyond.”