Parish Church faces daunting challenge

How we plan to raise the money to save the Church we love



Over 60 local people were at Bishop Monkton Village Hall on Thursday evening to hear details of the urgent repairs needed to preserve our Parish Church and the steps planned to raise the money to tackle the problem.

The meeting was opened by The Rev. Sheila who welcomed the Dean of Ripon, The Very Rev. John Dobson, Dean of Ripon Cathedral and Vicar of the Bishop Monkton and Burton Leonard Parish Churches.

Sheila reminded the audience that the site of the church had been used for worship since 1353 and we had been blessed with the present beautiful building since 1879.

The building was known and loved by the whole community and, apart from being a place of worship, many used it for their weddings, christenings, funerals, burials, a meeting place for regular and varied public events as well as a place for quiet meditation, so we owed it for future generations to undertake whatever it took to keep the church open and thriving.

Stuart Newsome, Lay Worship Leader, Churchwarden and PCC Chairman, then provided the audience with a presentation which explained the why, when, how and who slides which explained every facet of the problem and the way in which it is planned to tackle the challenge ahead.  

Here is how these steps were described:


To secure Saint John The Baptist Parish Church as a building that is fit for purpose.

To secure the building for future generations.

To recognise the contribution of generations past.


To provide a place of worship that is an accessible venue for Coffee Mornings, School Services, Special Services (Remembrance, Harvest, Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals, Christingle, Nativity)

To develop ever closer links with the School.

To provide a location for quiet reflection.

Ultimately to avoid closure of the Church.

To comply with the recommendations of the Quinquennial Inspection.



Commence with the first phase to re-open the main entrance to Church


Commence with Tower and Spitter repairs, to include sufficient work to prevent water ingress, including some stonework and chimney repairs, lead lining to guttering.

Re-establish roof ventilation.

Eventually repair the whole roof to include wooden batten and nail replacement and approximately 25% replacement of tiles. A full specification is yet to be established for this work.

Repair any outstanding stonework.

Replace electrical wiring to facilitate the installation of an efficient lighting system. 


Community funding to raise a minimum of £35,000 to complete the first part of the work and re-open the main entrance of the Church.

Community funding to raise a minimum of  £100,000 which equates to approximately half of the estimated outstanding cost of repair. This figure may increase once the actual specification is established.

Grant applications to Charitable Trusts to seek to raise the balance of the repair costs.

Seek legacy pledges to provide long term financial stability.



Residents of Bishop Monkton.

Church Members.

Parents and Carers of School Children.

Local Businesses.

Local MP.

Parish Council.

Kebbell Homes.


As at 17/02/19


Other church officials also there to field questions were Maggie Wood (Treasurer and Deputy Churchwarden) and James Hobson (Deputy Churchwarden).

Then followed a wider question and answer session which was expertly handled by The Dean. 

Questions covered a wide range of topics included more precise details of the structural problems, the cost of remedial work, how the firm to carry out the work would be selected, how long the work would take, why there were not more younger people in the audience, whether the eventual sale of the Vicarage would provide funds to help finance the church repairs (here it was explained that even if the Vicarage were sold, the proceeds would not come to the Parish Church), whether more help could be sought from Harrogate Borough Council, and many others.

Most of the questions were answered by the Dean and Stuart Newsome., Some were referred back for further checking with answers to follow.

Now more hard work lies ahead, with a campaign to seek pledges and application for grants with the aim of raising the money required for the stated phases of work needed to restore the condition of the Church and make it sound for generations to come.

The good news is that £11,000 towards the first target of raising £35,000 has already been raised.

Pledge and donation forms are currently being being circulated throughout the village.

A good start - but still a long, long way to go!

CHATTING OVER THE PROBLEM are Gerald Shervington and village newcomer 

Rex Whistler with the Dean, The Very Rev. John Dobson.