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Chantry Chapel set to re-open within weeks

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With scaffolding down and work almost complete, the Chantry Chapel of St Mary the Virgin is due to reopen within the week.

Essential repairs, including fixing the roof, adding pigeon spikes, replacing uneven floor tiles and repairs to the buildings facade, have so far cost more than £26,000.

The bridge chapel has remained open for services while the restoration has taken place over the last six weeks, but has been forced to cancel its monthly tours.

Wakefield Cathedral is responsible for services held at the chapel, but all maintenance of the building is the responsibility of the Friends of Wakefield Chantry Chapel.

The Friends each pay an annual subscription fee of £10, but most of the money for the restoration was raised through fundraising and open days.

David Royston, chair of the Friends, said: “We are grateful to all our Friends for all the fundraising activities and the donations we receive from the many visitors to our beautiful Chapel.

“This chapel really is unique and the best example of a bridge chapel in this country and without this support, it would be lost to our future generations.”

St Mary’s is one of only three bridge chapels in the country which is still in use, and is believed to be the oldest in existence. It is estimated that the chapel was originally constructed between 1342 and 1356, before falling into disrepair after the dissolution of chantries under Henry VIII in 1545.

The chantry was restored to its current state and reopened in 1848 and many of the damaged sections were replaced. The original stonework can still be seen at the base of the chantry.

The acting Dean of Wakefield Cathedral, Canon Tony Macpherson, said: “Wakefield’s Chantry Chapel is a real gem and part of our city’s rich heritage, and our social history.

“We are hugely grateful to the Friends for all their hard work in maintaining and restoring this beautiful building.”