UPDATE AS AT January 2019
At long last we are now seeing evidence of progress in our SOS project! The scaffolding is now being erected. You can see pictures of the current progress in our Photographs Section.
Save Our Spire – Essential repair works to the church of St Mary the Virgin, St Blazey Gate, Par.
We are delighted to announce that following on from the initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin in Par has now been successful in receiving a further grant of up to £198,600 toward the estimated project cost of £305,665. This equates to 65% of the total estimated cost of the project.
Led by the project team, the whole Parish and beyond have been actively working towards raising the remaining £107,065. To date, £65,322 has been secured leaving £41,743 to go. Several future events have already been planned including a concert by the Rock Choir & The Gott Hall Music Group.
The project will also carry out conservation work in order to preserve and inform the local community and our many visitors of the two ancient monuments and the extensive varieties of flora and fauna within the churchyard.
The ecclesiastical Parish of Par was formed on January 20th 1846, from portions of the parishes of St. Blazey and Tywardreath and the church was the first commission of the eminent Victorian architect George Edmund Street whose work culminated in the design and building of the Royal Courts of Justice.
The church was built in 1849 and the Carlyon family of Tregrehan House were instrumental in its positioning - on the edge of their estate - and it was used by the family and their servants for worship. The first vicar of Par, George Rundle Prynne was the vicar of a newly established Parish with no church. In its design Street produced a church, built using local stone, the most impressive aspect being the square tower with an octagonal belfry, with a spire that was used as a day marker by those at sea, and today is still used as a focal point throughout the area.
Commenting on the award, Diana Osborne, a member of the project team said: “This is fantastic news! We are delighted that we have received further support from the National Lottery players. The pretty rose coloured church, with its distinctive spire, has been a focal point in the area since it was built. We have been very active in trying to raise the remaining money. We are not there yet but we are a step closer to preserving our church for another century. Every church member is committed to working to avoid the closure of St. Mary the Virgin since we have been recently added to Historic England ‘At Risk’ register. Now, more than ever, we need the support of the whole community to allow us to repair the spire and bring it back to its original beauty. ”
The History of our 'SAVE OUR SPIRE' Appeal
In 2016, our 5 yearly inspection of St Mary's church, by the Diocese of Truro, identified that condition of the tower and spire had deteriorate over the years and now requires urgent work to ensure their structural integrity. Failure to do so will soon render the tower unsafe for continued use and the church will need to close.
In 2017, we therefore launched our SOS Appeal to financial this work. As part of our appeal, we submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for their financial support to repair the spire and bring it back to its original beauty, once more providing safe access for all our parishoners and our many visitors.
We were fortunate to be awarded initial development funding of £25,000 by the HLF, in order to progress the proposed plans, for the church to apply for the full grant at a later date. The grant enabled surveys to be carried out to identify precisely what work is needed, in order to cost the whole project and apply for a full grant. This was excellent news, knowing that we were a step closer to preserving our church for another century.
If you feel you can help in anyway or would like to make a donation, however large or small, towards our SOS (Save Our Spire) fund, please send to Anne Weaver, 2 Doubletrees, St Blazey, Par, PL24 2LE. Cheques should be made payable to PCC Par. Please annotate the cheque that you are making the donation to our Save our Spire Fund.
Alternatively, please contact our Web Master (through our contacts page) for our Parochial Church Council's BACs details.