Restoration Archive


It’s been over three years in gestation but slowly and surely we are making progress with the roof project with the works currently scheduled to be undertaken between February and June this year.

Business As Usual

Following the award of the Heritage Lottery Fund  (HLF) grant in September last year we have been liaising with architects and contractors to fine tune the work specification and price and to agree the programme of work.  The construction contract has been finalised and the contractors appointed. 

New roof tiles are on order.  The building’s grade I listing limited the choice of replacement tile but after consultation with Historic England we selected a quarry in Northumberland to supply the tiles from level bedded sandstone.   The stone is cut from the quarry by hand.  It can be a laborious process which is heavily dependent on the weather conditions.  Hence we are praying for mild weather to ensure that there will be no disruption to production over the next two months.

The new tiles are intended for one half of the roof; the intention is to re-clad the other half of the roof with existing tiles re-claimed during the stripping process.  The works will begin on 27 February with the tiles being delivered soon after that (God willing).

The church will continue to operate its full range of services during the period of the works and every effort will be taken to maintain business as usual.

Additional Funding

The HLF grant of £181,000 represented 65% of the total project cost.  With £50,000 pledged from the Friends of All Saints, gifts from private donors and recovery of VAT from a government sponsored scheme the project was adequately financed.  But as with all such projects there is always an element of financial risk from contract variations and the like.

To mitigate this risk as much as possible the PCC applied to other grant funding bodies for additional finance and, so far, we have been delighted to receive generous donations and pledges from All Churches Trust, Archdiocese of York, Garfield Weston Foundation and National Churches Trust.

Thank You

To the Friends of All Saints, the various grant funders, private donors, volunteers who have given their valuable time the PCC extends a huge thank you.  They would not have got this far without your help and support.




Christmas funding boost for All Saints, Bolton Percy

All Saints, Bolton Percy, on the Historic England ‘At Risk Register’, is set to benefit from a £596,000 rescue funding package from the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church repair and support charity.

The church has been awarded a £20,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund a project to re-roof the nave and aisles, and to repair roof timbers, parapets, gutters and flashing. The work will protect the interior of the building from damage by the elements and therefore preserve the many historic features including monuments, furniture and the stained glass windows.

A total of 36 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches Trust, the UK church repair and support charity.

Top of the 2016 list of funding requests received by the charity include repairs to roofs, stonework and drainage and the provision of toilets and kitchens.

“Everyone can make a contribution to the future of the UK's church and chapel buildings. That could be by helping to clear drains and gutters to help keep churches watertight or by keeping an eye out for vandals or thieves.”

“Churches and chapels may be historic buildings, but they can be part of our future, too.”


YORKSHIRE: All Saints, Bolton Percy YO23 3TX,

Diocese of York - Anglican - Grade I

On the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register

Awarded a £20,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund a project to re-roof the nave and aisles, and to repair roof timbers, parapets, gutters and flashing.

Nestled in the quiet North Yorkshire village of Bolton Percy, All Saints is an old church with a long history and a big heart. Set in a peaceful, tranquil churchyard All Saints' was erected in the 15th century on the site of an earlier church and consecrated in 1424.

Notable features within the church include: a Jacobean pulpit and oak box pews; a font that originates from Norman times with a Jacobean cover; numerous monuments around the walls and set into the floor,  notably commemorating the Fairfax family, prominent members of the nobility in the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors come from far and wide to view the church’s fourteen stunning stained glass windows. All are beautiful works of art in themselves but the East Window and the Millennium Window attract the most attention.

The project will include recovering the roof over the nave, aisles, and tower together with repairs to roof timbers parapet gutters and flashings and structural oak timbers.

The work will protect the interior of the building from damage by the elements and therefore preserve the many historic features including monuments, furniture and the stained glass windows. It will also ensure that the building can be removed from the Historic England at Risk Register.

Broadcaster and Journalist Huw Edwards, Vice-President of the National Churches Trust said:

“I'm delighted that this Christmas the future of All Saints, Bolton Percy, is being safeguarded by a National Churches Trust grant to fund roof repairs. This funding will help ensure that this historic place of worship continues to serve local people for many years to come and that the building can be removed from the Historic England ‘At Risk Register’. Churches and chapels are some of the UK's best loved buildings. But their future is not guaranteed.”

“This Christmas, when people visit a church or chapel for a carol service or even just walk past a church on the way to do the Christmas shopping, I urge them to think about how they can help ensure that churches can remain open and in good repair.”



Promoting All Saints' Church at Hornington Manor Wedding Fayre on Sunday 23 October 2016, and publicizing the Heritage Lottery Fund grant which we have recently been awarded.


Whatever happened to our sun dial?

The more observant among you may have noticed that where there was once a sun dial in the churchyard of All Saints, Bolton Percy, for several months now, there has been an empty plinth.

Has someone stolen it you may have thought?   Or possibly the PCC had decided to do away with it as an unnecessary duplication of the clock on the east face of the church tower.  And who uses sun dials nowadays anyway? After all, they’ve been pretty much redundant ever since the advent of the speaking clock and especially those with gnomons missing from their face.  (Note to Ed: Gnomons are those bits of metal on the sun dial’s face that cast the shadow to the hour and which have been missing from the BP sun dial for years).

Well, to begin with, nobody has stolen it and the PCC don’t want to do away with it. On the contrary they are desperate to conserve it for as long as possible.  It has been a feature of the churchyard for as long as anyone can remember and it appears on all historic photographs.  In fact, if anyone has a photo or a painting of the church that doesn’t show the sun dial in its place in the churchyard the PCC would be very interested to see it.

You see the sun dial is classified as an ancient monument said to date from the sixteenth century.  It has a designated Grade II listing.  A recent architect’s inspection noted that it was showing signs of its age and was in need of repair.  We had it examined by a specialist stonemason and it was agreed that it could possibly be treated with a repair to its main column; what was referred to as a tiled repair.

These matters have to go through a process of approval.  We obtained the approval for the works to proceed from the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC).  And thankfully we received a generous grant from the North Yorkshire County Council Locality Budget to cover the estimated cost.  But then when the mason started to dismantle the column of the sun dial to undertake the repair he immediately found that it was much more significantly degraded than had been apparent from the previous inspection.  Instead of a tiled repair a complete section of the column would have to be cut out and replaced with new stone; and as they say in the world of conservation, that becomes a whole new ball game.  And, actually, it does raise a number of extra considerations in the context of a conservation exercise.

In the interests of conserving as much of this ancient monument as possible there would be a drive to limit the length of the column to be replaced.  But the mason would need to balance that interest with our requirement for a lasting repair and to satisfy that requirement he would look to replace more than just the minimum length of column.  The difference between say 30 inches of stone column compared with 39 inches.  On the other hand, another possibility that has been mooted is the replacement of the complete column with the original being preserved for posterity in its damaged state but still conserved in one piece.

Because of these potential changes we had to re-apply to the DAC to vary the scope of the original works.  We are still in consultation.  The debate ranges around conservation, cosmetics and structural efficacy.  To check for a cosmetic match we have to obtain alternative samples of stone: Cadeby or Highmoor for the aficionados.  We also have to have a structural engineer’s report on the feasibility of any proposed repair and then we have to submit our proposals to relevant statutory authorities – Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Ancient Monument Society (because of the Grade II listing). Provided we get their approval to any final proposals we can then re-apply to the DAC for final approval.

So don’t despair we intend that eventually the sun dial will re-appear on its plinth conserved for future generations.  It is a lengthy process but, as with everything else to do with this special church, we think it’s worth it.



Where is the money coming from to replace the tower and nave roof tiles?


The Heritage Lottery Grant of £181,100 represents 65% of the projected total cost of £279,213.

The remaining funds will be met by: 

  • ·         The Friends of All Saints’ generous offer of £50,000.
  • ·         Reclaiming VAT from the Government scheme, Listed Places of Worship - but this is not guaranteed.
  • ·         PCC funds.

The Steering Group is trying to obtain grants from other sources which, if successful, will offset the amount that The Friends will contribute. It should be borne in mind of course, that this is only the beginning of the roof project and when the contractors make a start we may find that additional costs arise.  

There are also other plans to refurbish the bells, clean the stained glass and internal walls of the church and renew the Old Boiler House which was deemed ‘unsafe’ in the 2013 Architect’s QI Report .

We will keep you informed with progress reports.

The Bolton Percy Steering Group are delighted to announce that our Second Round Application to the Heritage Lottery Fund has been successful.  Champagne and cake to celebrate!

Please see official Press Release below.

PRESS RELEASE:  Thursday 15 September 2016

All Saints’ Church, Bolton Percy secures Heritage Lottery Fund investment

Urgent renovations to All Saints’ Church can now be undertaken thanks to a grant of £181,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). 

Situated in the small village of Bolton Percy, just South West of York, the magnificent 15th century building, known locally as “The Cathedral of the Ainsty”, is in need of urgent work to its leaking nave and tower roofs.  Confirmation of the grant is the culmination of three years of hard work by villagers working to conserve the heritage of their much loved church building.

An architect’s report in 2013 brought the unwelcome news of the poor state of the nave and tower roofs, which were described as being “in a perilous condition”.  The local community rallied round and, tapping into the existing spirit within the village, a team of volunteers launched a project to raise funds for the extensive works that were required.  They labelled the project ‘Dreaming Dreams’ and their work succeeded in obtaining a Development Grant from the HLF last year, at which point the project evolved to ‘Turning Dreams into Reality’. 

The HLF grant represents 65% of the total cost of the roofing project and the villagers still have to provide over £50,000 through their own endeavours.  Their own fund raising activities continue this Saturday with 150 people attending a harvest supper and jazz night in the grounds of the local D’Oyly’s tea rooms.

Thanks to the support from National Lottery players the renewal of the roofs is expected to start next spring. However, this is seen as just the first stage in an ambitious longer term project to restore the church interior, windows and memorials and to refurbish the 17th century bells.  The energy and enthusiasm of the villagers involved, which has brought success to the first part of the ‘Dream’, should ensure that the remaining dreams will also become reality.

Rev’d Geoff Mumford, vicar of All Saints’ said: “I am delighted that, after several years of hard work by our dedicated volunteers, our 600 year old church has received the grant funding from HLF for this important restoration work which will help conserve our magnificent building for generations to come.”

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire and the Humber said, “This project will start to rejuvenate a much loved building, securing its place in the heart of the community and safeguarding it for future generations.”

The majority of our fundraising is currently going towards the fund for major repairs that are required to the roof of All Saints Church, in addition we also require repairs to bell tower and restoration of the bells. In total we need a huge £280,000 to carry out the full repairs.

Our first application for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected, however we have since submitted a second application and were granted an award of £22,300 towards the Development Phase of our project. This money is to fund the investigative works necessary to specify the full extent of the re-roofing works but it does not guarantee that we will receive the final award of over £200,000 required to complete the project.

It is very important that as many people as possible - both local and from further afield - support our efforts and help to maintain All Saints' Church as an important centrepiece of the Bolton Percy community.

We have set up a giving page to help 'Save Our Roof'. If you would like to donate please visit our donation page. Any donations no matter how small are very welcome. Thanks for your support.

New or reclaimed?

After much deliberation and consultation with Historic England we went with new tiles to be made with stone from Ladycross Quarry in Northumberland.  The church building is Grade I listed and it was important that our choice reflected that and also satisfied the requirements of Historic England.

The stone that provides the best match is described as level bedded sandstone and is quarried and formed entirely by hand.  Subject to the approval of our grant application by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) we are hopeful the stone tiles will be available in sufficient quantities for our roof from early spring 2017.

D'Oyly's Tearooms - Harvest Supper Fundraising Event 17 September 2016

A big thank you to D'Oyly's Tearooms who held a Harvest Supper in their grounds on the evening of 17 September and raised an amazing £1,127 towards the Roof Fund.  Around 150 people attended and we were treated to a lovely supper with scrumptious puddings to follow, and all homemade.  A jazz band played in the background and a good evening was had by all.  Thanks again to the D'Oyly's team

JULY 2016

Second Round Grant Application

Having resolved the choice of tiles we were able then to firm up on contractors’ prices all of which fall within our original budget.  We have also submitted our second round grant application to HLF; the approval process takes approximately 3 months to complete and we can expect a decision in mid September.  All fingers and toes are crossed in anticipation of a positive response.

Other Sources of Funding

Even if the HLF agree to provide all the funds we have applied for this will represent only approximately 60% of the total cost of the project.  As things currently stand we will be funding over £50,000 of the cost from monies that have been raised by Friends of All Saints and the PCC’s own cash reserves. 

We are, therefore, looking for additional finance from other grant funding bodies and continue to invite contributions via our donations page.

To help with the funding D’Oyly’s are hosting an Harvest Supper on 17 September 2016 with proceeds committed to the roof fund.  The event is a sell out with 150 attending so many thanks to D’Oyly’s for this initiative and for all those who are supporting the event.  

March 2016

The second round bid is currently being worked on and is due for submission to the Heritage Lottery fund by the end of June 2016.
PPIY Architects are acting on our behalf.
The Delivery Phase is now complete and we have chosen our roofing contractor.

But, we have a dilemma.... should we use:

Option 1 - reclaimed roof tiles
Pros - work should be able to comment on target, i.e. around July 2016
Cons - may be difficult to source 'good' tiles, provenance of tiles

Option 2 - new roof tiles
Pros - manufactured specifically to our requirements, longer life span
Cons - only produced by 1 quarry in the country, could take up to 12 months delivery

In both cases all tiles that can be salvaged will be taken from the North side of the church and used on the South side (facing the road). The North side roof will be replaced with either reclaimed or new tiles.

October 2015

An open meeting was held for all Bolton Percy villagers to update them on progress. The below is a resume of the meeting.


21 October 2015, 7pm
An open meeting for all BOLTON PERCY villagers

The Committee updated everyone on progress regarding the nave and tower roofs.  Over 30 villagers attended the meeting which was a superb turnout.

Four members of the Steering Group gave presentations on various aspects of the project.  Phil Heron the Churchwarden gave an overview of the work that has already been completed during the Development Stage, working with the Heritage Lottery and various consultants.  The architect's plans and consultants reports were displayed for everyone to see.  He also presented our vision for the future and how work on the roofs will progress given that we secure the next stage Delivery Grant from the Heritage Lottery.
Alan Swain (Chairman of the Friends) updated everyone on progress of the bell tower and bells.  The bell tower is in a perilous state and expert advice is being sought. Specialists in church bells have also been consulted.

Thanks was given to Jackie Giles, Nigel & Janet Thorpe, Jim Reid and Jim Davis for helping Roger Brook to keep tidy the Cemetery Garden.  A great improvement and much appreciated.

We also heard from Denise Ford about an old Parish Register which was thought to be lost but has now been rediscovered.  This is a register of births and deaths dating from 1571 which was painstakingly re-written by a curate at Bolton Percy in the mid 1850's. This is a fascinating document which has now been digitized and will be helpful for those tracing family ancestry.

Also on display was the Bible and Pledge Umbrella which helped secure our Heritage Lottery Grant.  There was also literature on past famous people who have attended All Saints':  Henry Hunnings (inventor and Vicar) and poet Andrew Marvell who attended the church whilst living at Nun Appleton House as Tutor to Lord Fairfax's daughter in the mid 17th century.

The second application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Places of Worship is scheduled to be submitted in the early part of 2016.  If our application is successful we hope to be sending out letters to tender to contractors in the very near future.  We will keep you posted .............

This is is your heritage

Summer 2015

An update to parishioners...

The Dream Lives On…

Our church desperately needed a new roof but we had nowhere near the massive funds required to match costs of re-roofing. So we dared to dream. And since then, like all dreamers, we’ve been riding an emotional roller coaster.

Initially we had the excitement of preparing the application for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the experience of Hope when the application was first submitted. Then we went through the despair of rejection when our application was turned down. But we had the Faith to go again and, with gritty determination, we prepared and submitted our second application to HLF.

Thanks to the Charity of the HLF we then enjoyed the jubilation of receiving the award of £22,300 towards the Development Phase of our project. Truly a time for celebration and to congratulate the Steering Group who have worked so tirelessly for so long to achieve this outcome.

But no sooner had the fizzy drinks been consumed and the back-slapping stopped than reality began to dawn. This initial award from the HLF is intended to fund the investigative works necessary to specify the full extent of the permanent works of re-roofing. It does not guarantee that we will receive the final award of over £200,000 required to complete the project. There is lots of hard work to be completed before we achieve that objective. The dreams haven’t turned fully into reality; they’re still in transition. We are currently working with our architects and engineers to flesh out the detailed scope of works necessary to support the second round application to the HLF. An important feature of this second round application will be the extent to which we evidence the church can genuinely be seen to reach out not just to the local community but also to wider interests. There are some encouraging signs with the interest we have seen recently from University bodies and historical societies; but we also need active involvement from the local community to make our plans succeed. Assuming we successfully complete the re-roofing works the PCC has wide ranging plans for the continuing development of the church building as an important asset to the community. They have previously held consultations concerning their plans and they propose to hold a further community consultation in October the purpose of which will be to update everyone on the progress of the roofing project and also to discuss additional plans for the church. See the panel below for details. It is important that as many as possible come along to the meeting to listen to the plans and also to express their preferences for how they should develop. So please come along, join in, let us have your views and help us to maintain the church as an important centrepiece of our community.

June 2015

Updated news on the bid to fund the church roof:

Our second bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Places of Worship scheme, under the heading 'Doomsday village with leaking 15th Century Church seeks urgent 21st Century makeover' has been successful.

We were delighted to hear that All Saints' Church Bolton Percy had been awarded a first round pass with a Development Grant of £22,300.

We are now working towards the 2nd Phase i.e. the Delivery Stage.

March 2015

TURNING DREAMS INTO REALITY - 600 years and still counting

I’ll always remember my first encounter with All Saints’ Church, Bolton Percy. It was within days of my moving into the village and it has held me in its thrall ever since. I had decided to take a stroll around the village with my two young daughters to explore what was to be our new home. The north west corner of the village contained a cluster of properties that held an immediate charm. As we emerged from Pump Alley our eyes took in the edifice of All Saints with its lych gate in the foreground; the churchyard was flanked to the south west by a timber framed Tudor gatehouse. I didn’t know what a gatehouse was at the time but it looked mightily impressive even then in spite (or because) of its dilapidated state.

But All Saints dominated the scene. After we stepped through the lych gate, with its carved timber sentinel and its memorial to Samuel Smith, we didn’t appreciate we were walking past a sun dial that dated from Saxon times.

We pushed against the timber entrance door with its tracery of woodworm holes. To our surprise it was unlocked; the church was open and inviting. So we entered, a little gingerly at first, feeling like trespassers. We walked up and down the aisles; me, noseying around old inscriptions and memorials; the girls playing tig and opening and closing the doors to the Jacobean pews.

If you’re like me, when you’re on holiday in the Mediterranean and you see some medieval church you have to go inside and marvel at its architecture and artefacts and yet here, in our very midst, is something that more than compares with anything you might encounter abroad. The danger is that you take it for granted and that, to quote Joni Mitchell, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

We came to rest at the chancel step and sat there, with the altar behind us, looking down the nave. It was late afternoon, or possibly early evening, the sun was angling through the windows of the south aisle, with wisps of dust suspended in the sunbeams. We sat there for I don’t know how long, not saying anything. The girls were unusually still for them, as if they had some sense of reverence for this beautiful place. There was a feeling of tranquillity but also an atmosphere evocative of past times. As if centuries of activities had soaked into the fabric of the building, layer upon layer, and were now reaching out wanting to tell their story.

And then our reverie was broken as the timber entrance door was pushed from the outside and a head popped around it. We jumped up apologetically, with the guilt of children caught scrumping for apples in an orchard. It was the church warden whose job it was to lock the church at the end of the day. He actually apologised for disturbing us and joked about nearly locking us in. We offered to leave but he insisted there was no hurry; he would come back later when we had finished.

It was a moment that has always stayed with me and my children; but it is just a microscopic point in time within the nearly 600 year life of the church.

I now know that the church dates back to the early 15th century a few years before the hot-headed Yorkists and Lancastrians fought out the bloodiest battle ever to be staged on English soil at Towton, just a short ride away on a fast steed.

Fast forward 200 years and we have the locality dominated by the Fairfax family some of whom were also national political figures and who worshipped at the church. Close your eyes and you can drift back to 1644 and imagine General Sir Thomas Fairfax (black Tom) and his acolytes stopping off at the church, divesting themselves of their arms in the porch, and paying homage to their maker before setting off to support Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads in the slaughter of a few thousand Royalists at Marston Moor . There is a unique funerary memorial to Thomas’ father Ferdinando, 2nd Lord Fairfax, on the wall of the south aisle.
The church has survived intact with its dignified presence through to the present day, the Cathedral of the Ainsty. From hot-heads and Roundheads to skinheads it has seen the lot and has always been available to provide succour and support to all those who have needed it. It remains there to be cherished. Yes as a place of worship but also as a building in its own right with splendid architecture and as the centrepiece of a quintessential English village.

Legally the title to the church will rest with the Church of England. But in reality it belongs to us, to the community. It is our legacy from past generations and we have been entrusted with its care. If this venerable old building is ever to slip into decay and disrepair then it must not, as they say, be on our watch.
The church celebrates its 600th anniversary in 2024. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to give it a celebration to remember for the next 600 years? But before we can do that there are urgent restoration works that have to be completed. The nave roof requires a major overhaul with the stripping and renewal of its slates and the tower roof covering needs replacing. There is also substantial work required internally within the belfry.
The PCC is planning the restoration works but, with costs projected at up to £300,000, they are dependent upon external funding. They are hopeful of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund but there are additional works required beyond the urgent restoration of the nave and tower roofs for which additional funding will be required.

Because of its historical significance the appeal of the church reaches beyond the boundaries of our immediate community. The PCC has had messages in support of its project from leading historians and from current members of the Fairfax family including the 14th Lord Fairfax.

The PCC has a vision that sees the church being actively managed as the hub of the local community, a place of retreat and sanctuary for those seeking spiritual comfort, an attraction to visitors and a superb venue for weddings.

First they must deal with the urgent restoration works and then progress their overriding vision for the church as the focus of the community, culminating in the 600 year anniversary celebrations in 2024. They have much to do and only 9 years in which to do it.

Phil Heron

February 2015

As part of our bid to raise the funds to help save the roof, we recorded our version of 'Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head' and sang it loud and proud on BBC Radio York.  We had hoped to get permission to use our version to raise funds but sadly our request to the copyright owners was turned down.

To see the the findings of our Dreaming Dreams village questionnaire which began our quest for funding, please follow the link below.  The questionnaire followed a village meeting and is compiled of input gained from the meeting.

Dreaming Dreams Questionnaire

If you would like to make a donation to our fundraising you can do so on our donation page.

If you wish to get involved with our fundraising in some other way please get in touch with our Treasurer (details on the Contact Us page).