Restoration of King James Bible: Cost £15,000
Conservation of Medieval Doors - Cost £2,000
Great West Doors
The Great West doors are the ceremonial main entrance doors to the church which are used for Shakespeare procession, Remembrance Days and Civic duties such as weddings and funerals. These are about 3.5 metres high and 2.5 metres wide carved with vertical foiled panels and gothic tracery.
Outer North Porch Doors
The outer doors to the porch built-in 1485 by Thomas Balsall who also built the Chancel.
We are lucky still to have these as the Stratford Herald reported, the doors had been removed from their hinges in 1892, at the suggestion of the vicar in order to reveal the holy water stoups. The doors were stored safely but sold with other old wood in 1894 for £1 by a churchwarden. The vicar and wardens were alerted and after some negotiation, the doors were repurchased for £3.
Inner North Porch Doors
The Inner North Porch doors were installed in 1485 by Thomas Balsall who built the chancel where Shakespeare and his family are buried.
While the doors are over 2 metres high, the left-hand door holds a much smaller door - only 1.6 metres high - and it’s through this most visitors emerge into the church itself.
The doors also have possibly the oldest artefact remaining in the church There is a 12scentury sanctuary knocker and fugitives from justice (often lynch-mobs!) could grab the ring of the sanctuary knocker and claim 37 days safety before facing trial
Conservation Work Required
All doors required require careful cleaning to remove the debris as best as possible and then a very light sanding to keep the surface consistent and key the surface. After this, the application of 2-3 coats of boiled linseed oil thinned down to 50% to penetrate the oak and preserve it for future generations.
The cost of this work is £2,000 and is anticipated to be complete before winter 2021.
Restoration of the North Transept: Cost £150,000
The North and South transepts were built in 1210 and are the oldest parts of the church. The Friends of Shakespeare’s Church provided the funds for conservation work in the South transept in 2018.
However, the North transept is the last part of the church to undergo major restoration and remains closed to the public. The transept contains a number of interesting monuments and medieval altars, together with the remains of narrow arches (now blocked) which opened into the 12th and 13th century aisles North of the nave and former chancel. The transept itself is divided from the crossing by a 14th-century screen which originally stood behind the chancel arch and through which Shakespeare and his family were carried for burial in the chancel.
The Friends have committed to restore the church to its natural cruciform, a project costing over £1million as a whole. Part of this will enable the transept to be open to the public, creating a display area for the many exhibitions held in the church together with a dedicated area for the choir and theatrical and concert performers.
The first phase is to stabilise the exterior structure of the North transept itself. Our latest architectural survey of the building in 2015 recommended carrying out a programme of masonry repairs to replace eroded stonework. Since that time, the gable has started to lean (as the South Transept did before repair in 2018) and a repair is recommended before serious irreversible damage occurs.
The project will stabilize the outer walls, replacing crumbling stones and ensure there is no risk of collapse. The cost to complete this vital conservation work Is £150,000 and is planned to commence in September 2021.