Leicester spire re-build needs £600,000

Published: Wednesday, March 12, 2014


The spire of St Mary de Castro in Leicester has been a landmark for many centuries.

Now the church has launched a £600,000 fundraising campaign to pay for its re-buiilding

In 2013, the National Churches Trust awarded a £40,000 Cornerstone Grant to the Grade I listed building, which was founded in 1107, to help fund the re-building of the spire.

Before the re-build can start, however, the spire, which is unsafe, has first to be dismantled. As part of the work, extensive scaffolding has been put in place and in February 2014 contractors started to dismantle the top 40ft of the spire. The spire is due to be completely removed by July 2014. Following that remedial work to the tower and pinnacles will take place.

The Church of St Mary de Castro stands within the precincts of the Royal Castle of Leicester, from which it gets its name and of which it was once the chapel. Sovereigns of England who came to Leicester stayed at the castle and worshipped in the church. Here too came Simon de Montfort, and Parliament heard Mass here before its Leicester meetings. King Henry VI was knighted in St Mary's in 1426 and it is also thought that Geoffrey Chaucer was married here. Perhaps the last reigning monarch to worship in St Mary's was King Richard III, and here his body may have rested briefly after the Battle of Bosworth. In addition to regular worship, the church is also used for private prayer and thoughts.

Rosemary Mason Appeal Co-ordinator of the Save Our Spire St Mary de Castro Church Appeal said:

At present, our church is closed, but when the dismantling of the spire has been completed, the plan is to get the church open again with a celebration and to carry on with life as before, with services, concerts and many other events taking place within the church. Many people miss the church as a daily meeting place.

We launched our £600,000 Fundraising campaign on 6 February 2014 with the backing of Sir Peter Soulsby, our City Mayor. We invited the people of Leicester and Leicestershire to help us raise the money to enable us to re-build our spire.

The funding in 2013 of £40,000 from the National Churches Trust has been so important, as it is helping with the cash flow and also assuring us as fundraisers that we are not on our own trying to preserve this historical 'gem' for future generations. We are having tremendous support, guidance and encouragement from all of the staff of the National Churches Trust.

We have a loan in place from the Diocese of Leicester to help. But what we really need is big money to help us rebuild the spire. Every bit helps, small or large donations, or help from companies who may be interested in helping with the costs of the rebuild.

Find out how you can help on the St Mary de Castro website