We completed five massive Restoration Projects between 2001 and 2011 which both brought the building up to a good standard of repair and improved the facilities for worship, pilgrims and tourists. Parishioners, Friends, English Heritage and many other grant agencies all gave us huge financial support.

However we are aware that following the Quinquennial report we will have to address the serious weathering of the south wall of the church.

This will be another big project for which we will need your ongoing support. This is essential to minimise deterioration of this ancient, beautiful, and important building.

You can help by:

Offering your prayers & practical support to our appeal.

Participating in Parish fundraising activities.

Joining the ‘The Friends of Warkworth Church’ scheme.

Welcoming visitors to the Church and encouraging them to support us.

Making regular ‘gift aided’ donations. Bank details available.

Making a one-off ‘gift aided’ donation.

Donating by cash or cheque – Pay PCC Warkworth.

Remembering St. Lawrence Church in your will – very tax efficient for one’s beneficiaries.

Earlier Work

Earlier Work

Phase 1 was completed in early 2004:

  1. A new Heating System.

  2. A new Sound System & Hearing Loop.

  3. New Outer Doors.

  4. Disabled Ramp & Handrails.

  5. Repositioning of the Altar & Altar Rails.

Making Plans

Following receipt of the Quinquennial Report in 2004, the Restoration Appeal Fund Committee and Parochial Church Council reviewed the work to be carried out in the medium-term and divided it into three large Projects.

Project 1 was completed in December 2005:

  1. Repair and renew the floor at the Crossing

  2. Realign the pulpit to improve sightlines between the altar and congregation.

  3. Installed lighting over the East - West public footpath through the Churchyard.

  4. Improve Fire Escape, Bridge & Footpath from Priest's Door in Chancel.

  5. Repair Rose Window.

This work has made St. Lawrence Church a much more welcoming, inclusive and comfortable place in which to worship and work.

Project 2 was completed in 2006:

  1. Re-point the stonework of the Spire and Belfry (upper part of the Tower).

  2. Replace some broken stones.

  3. Renew the lightening conductor

  4. Free up and grease the kingpin of the weathervane.

  5. Repaint the metal tie plates and clock brackets on the Tower.

  6. Install lead lined steel hoppers in the ‘lucarnes’ (openings) of Spire to catch and dispose of the water dripping from the worn head stones.

This work was paid for by funds raised again entirely from local sources.

North Wall Design and Construction Works

St. Lawrence Church was placed on the English Heritage 2007 ‘Buildings at Risk’ Register. In March 2007 the PCC was advised by the Engineers that the urgency of addressing this problem was now so great that work must start within two years.

With the help of a grant from English Heritage, Stage 1 Project Development was undertaken in 2008

A number of alternative schemes were evaluated during this process. Initially we were endeavouring to support the wall ‘invisibly’ by inserting vertical reinforcement beams within the wall itself with horizontal underground beams linking up with piles in the churchyard. This solution proved to be very expensive. It would also be subject to unpredictable cost escalation when we excavated the pre-1860 graveyard and found articulated skeletons.

Meanwhile we were aware of several references to a Victorian painting purporting to show more than three buttresses on the north side. This painting had not been seen by anyone currently involved although it was referred to in the 1968 Quinquennial. A photograph of the painting came to light in the re-catalogued archives of the Warkworth History Society who had put on a display in church in Summer 2008. The original painting has not been located.

Once we had sight of this copy of the 1837 Painting by R T Atkinson, the decision was rapidly made to change course, replace the two missing buttresses and strengthen the two existing westerly ones. The small eastern buttress does not require any extra support. It was decided not to attempt to reconstruct the porch since there is no requirement to reopen the north doorway which has been blocked up for centuries.

We have included a fascinating print of the south aspect of the church from about the same date above. Note lower pitched roof and the outline of an earlier one, the clerestory windows and the large single window at the east end. All these features were changed in the 1860 remodelling of the church said by then to be ‘in a ruinous state’.

Construction Works

Following a tender process in late 2008, Historic Property Restoration Ltd of North Shields (who carried out the Project 1 work) was appointed Main Contractor. We achieved the 2 year timeframe recommended and HPR commenced work on 23rd March 2009 with a nineteen week programme which comprised:


  • Excavation of the areas to be worked on and reburial by the Vicar of the eight articulated skeletons identified during stage 1 investigations.

  • Piling for two new buttresses (Nos 3 & 4 from west) and No 2 existing buttress.

  • Drilling & insertion of ‘Cintec’ Anchors into Nos 1 & 2 existing buttresses

  • Construction of Pile Caps

  • Building of two new reinforced buttresses (Nos 3 & 4) clad in suitable stonework

  • Installation of a wall-head beam between buttress No 2 (existing) and No 3 (new) to stiffen the wall instead of reinstating the porch.


  • Carry out repairs to south aisle ‘consequential damage’ to beams and roof.

  • Roof repairs in baptistry and nave over the organ to prevent water ingress due to movement of north wall.

Additional work carried out inside church in preparation for Project 4 (see below):

  • Relocated the font at the crossing to improve family and congregation’s participation in baptisms now almost always celebrated during public services

  • Raised the level of the floor in former baptistery to that of the nave and aisle. This removes a serious trip hazard and makes the space more useful for visitor welcome and church events.

  • Concrete floor has been laid in area to be occupied by the planned servery.

  • Relocated spare radiators elsewhere in the church building.

Exciting incidents and finds during the building programme:

  • Section of pre-conquest foundations beneath No 4 buttress – piles repositioned to preserve this for the future.

  • Piling operation hit water at 18 metres and produced a dramatic water & mud geyser.

  • Void above south aisle ceiling behind and above arcade between the pitched 15c wooden ceiling and sloping outer lead covered roof.

  • Wooden wall-head beam discovered near top of north wall that had been restored in 1860. This linked in with full depth wooden corbels. This discovery necessitated a change of design to our planned concrete beam.

  • Chimney within the thickness of north wall found whilst repairing the blocked up doorway – this explains the apparent vanishing of the up flue in the 1837 picture.


  • The contract was completed on time by the end of July 2009.

  • St Lawrence Church will soon be removed from the ‘Buildings at Risk’ Register which will be a fine tribute to the success of this huge and long outstanding project.


Stage 1 (project development) of this project cost £72,000 of which English Heritage generously contributed £25,000 in 2008.

Stage 2 (construction) of this project cost £240,000.

English Heritage has awarded us a further grant of £138,000 making a total grant of £163,000.

The balance of the cost of this project has been raised from other Grant Agencies, some generous individual donations and a huge effort by parishioners, local folk and businesses.

Upgraded Facilities

We were now able to return to a project which was shelved in 2007 due to the over-riding urgency of addressing and devoting all available funds to the resolution of the centuries old problem of the rotating north wall.

Once this had been satisfactorily resolved in 2009, we could take stock and turn our attention to a further upgrade of the church facilities and welcome ministry. This entailed installing a toilet suitable for use by disabled people in the base of the tower and a small servery in the former baptistry area to facilitate provision of refreshments after our Sunday service and for the many events we hold in church during the year. We had already secured the necessary ‘faculty’ from the Diocese.

Whilst the church was closed in June/July 2009 we had taken the opportunity to carry out the disruptive preparatory work necessary.

Thus, with minimum disruption to normal usage of the church, we constructed a beautiful oak panelled screen at the west end of the south aisle behind which is a small serving area and storage for the cutlery and crockery needed for church events. We have fitted it out with water boiling, food re-heating, refrigeration and dishwashing facilities.

The screen was carefully angled so as not to encroach upon the view of the knight’s tomb and the end result in fact enhances the view of the tomb due to the contrasting colour of the oak and stone. We have renamed this area of the church The Chantry in honour of Sir Hugh of Morwick whose tomb it is.

At the same time a matching oak door into the tower was installed behind which is a fully equipped lavatory and washing facilities, sink for the flower arrangers and a mezzanine floor above for storage of equipment and ornamentation required only at intervals during the church calendar. One casualty of providing these facilities was and enormous 1920 blower unit for the Harrison & Harrison church organ. We therefore installed a modern blower unit under the organ. This had the beneficial effect of re-circulating warm air from inside the church rather than cold air from the tower during services in the winter.