New Projects

Since its foundation in 2003, the Friends of Shakespeare’s Church has raised over £1.2 million towards the conservation of the church and we have committed to raise a further £1 million over the next 5 years.
There is work to do ... We have committed to raise £1 million over the next 5 years

Restoration of King James Bible: Cost £15,000

Chained to the lectern in church and probably used during the years between 1613 and 1616, coinciding with the time when William Shakespeare lived in New Place. This is the Bible from which Shakespeare heard the scriptures read, and probably read from himself.

The King James Bible at Holy Trinity has certainly been in the church since that time. Analysis of the pattern of typographical errors shows that it is the so-called ‘she Bible’ from the second printing in 1613. Damaged at some time, possibly during the Civil War period when the outer cover and a few of the first and last pages appear to have been torn off, the book was rebound in 1695 and is displayed in the church to this day. A length of the original iron chain still survives.

This work was carried out in 2021 with Friends donating £12,500 towards the conservation work and museum standard case which will provide a stable environment for the Bible, ensuring its long term conservation.  The Bible is now on display in the Church.

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Conservation of Medieval Doors - Cost £2,000

Holy Trinity is fortunate to have a number of medieval door dating from the 15th century . Time and weather have not been kind to these and all need urgent attention to remove the layers that accumulate over decades of exposure to the weather and to seal and protect these for future generations

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 2022.

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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 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 Friends funded a £135,000 restoration of the North Transept, the oldest part of the Church with the work completed in 2021.  

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