Service celebrates end of restoration work at All Saints, Church, in North Street

York Press: Churchwarden Dr Robert Richards with the newly-layed reproduction late 14th Century tiles, in the Lady Chapel at All Saints' Church, in North Street, York Churchwarden Dr Robert Richards with the newly-layed reproduction late 14th Century tiles, in the Lady Chapel at All Saints' Church, in North Street, York

AN HISTORIC York church is almost back to its 15th century glory after an 18-month painstaking restoration process.

All Saints, Church, in North Street, celebrated the end of work in the Lady Chapel with four special services.

The project, which has cost almost £20,000, has seen the Lady Chapel restored to the way it was in 1421 when an anchoress – or hermit – had visions of the Virgin Mary in the church.

A new larger-than-life-sized statue of Our Lady has been carved by sculptor Kibby Schaeffer and specially made tiles – designed to match the chapel’s original floor – have been shipped in from Hungary.

During the work, excavations found a previously unknown tomb from the late 15th century where a pregnant woman and three men had been buried.

Much of the restoration was carried out by volunteers Dr Robert Richards and David Titchener – both churchwardens at All Saints.

Dr Richards said: “It’s a relief the work was done in time for this weekend.

There were delays on getting the tiles from Hungary because of illness and some nights we were working until 11pm. The floor looks absolutely stunning, much better than any of us ever thought.”

The restoration was celebrated on Saturday with special services – with one led by Bishop of Beverley, the Rt Rev Glyn Webster, and the Rt Rev Robert Ladds, Superior-General of the Society of Mary, formerly the Bishop of Whitby.

The first Methodist service ever to be held in the chapel was led by Rev Chris Humble of York’s Central Methodist Church and church group Visions of York sung a night prayer.

The monks of Ampleforth Abbey also visited to sing Vespers in the chapel.

Dr Roberts said: “Because All Saints’ is off the tourist track, people often come in for some peace.”

He said members of the congregation hoped to carry on with restoration at the church once they have got fresh permission from the Ecclesiastical Court, and plan to make it into a usable space for prayer.

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