Thursday 9 July 2009

The Chapel Of St. Lawrence Tower Appeal


Victoria Coombes, of Railway Cottages, Bishopstrow, has written to us, in her capacity as Steward to the Feoffees of St. Lawrence's Chapel, Warminster, not only inviting us to the Celebration of the Patronal Festival of the Chapel on Sunday 9th August 2009, but also thanking us for our support and our services to local history.

With the invitation was enclosed a leaflet giving details of the Chapel's Tower Appeal 2009. The leaflet reads:

This small chapel in the middle of Warminster was purchased by the residents of the town in 1575. Since that date twelve trustees, or Feoffees as they are called, have met regularly to ensure its preservation and maintenance on behalf of the people of Warminster. Over the centuries it has been regularly used as a place of Christian worship and is unusual as it is not part of any diocese and of no particular denomination.

Current Use
The Chapel is open daily for the people of Warminster to use as a place for private prayer and where they can find peace and tranquility. Currently two services are held every week and evensong every month. It is used by schools and local organisations for concerts. A flower festival takes place every year. At troubled times it has provided a focus for prayer and floral tributes, for example after the death of the Princess of Wales. As Warminster is a garrison town the union flag is flown daily to remind us of the members of our armed forces who serve overseas. Every Monday morning prayers for peace are said in the Chapel.

Funding and Maintenance
The Feoffees are entirely responsible for the Chapel's funding. It is not financed by any church or heritage organisation and therefore relies on local support. As with all old buildings every now and then some major work becomes necessary and it has been noticed recently that the battlements are becoming unstable. New stones, which include two gargoyles at the back of the tower, are needed to replace those worn by weathering.

The Tower Appeal
The estimate for the cost of this work is in the region of £40,000 and the Feoffees are launching a public appeal at the Chapel's Patronal Festival Service on Sunday 9th August. A varied programme of fundraising events has been arranged and it is hoped that local organisations as well as residents will help contribute towards this project. An estimate of likely costs includes: Scaffolding £6,000; Gargoyles £3,000 each; Battlement Stones £500 each. The work is due to begin in May 2010 and on completion a list of donors will be displayed in the Chapel.

How To Help
It is hoped that the people of Warminster will support the Appeal by attending as many of the fund raising events as possible. Donations can be made by sending a cheque (made payable to St. Lawrence Tower Appeal) to: Phil Howard, Chairman of the Feoffees, 60 Highbury Park, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 9JF. For further information telephone 01985 218184 or email

The Friends
The Friends of The Chapel of St. Lawrence is registered as a charity with the objective of supporting the work of the Feoffees in providing for "the restoration, preservation, repair, maintenance, improvement and beautification of the Chapel and its monument, fittings, fixtures, stained glass, furniture, ornaments and chattels in the Chapel and Chapel's ground". For further details contact: Andrew Folker, 26 Vicarage Street, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 8JE. Telephone 01985 214911 or email