A £300,000 restoration project to save part of an historic York church has been completed.

The north aisle of St Denys Church in Walmgate had started to come away from the main body of the church, with daylight becoming visible, but it should now stand for centuries to come after the work, said priest in charge, the Reverend Jane Nattrass.

“This will ensure that the important heritage it holds, including some of York’s oldest stained glass, survives too and is available to all our visitors,” she said.

“We have repaired the roof, renewed the tracery of three windows, consolidated, repaired and underpinned the badly decayed west wall, reconstructed the north wall buttresses and cleaned and conserved the mediaeval stained glass in four windows.”

She said there were ‘plenty of crises along the way,’ such as when the west wall was found to be virtually a hollow shell, ‘held up, presumably, only by the faith of the congregation.’

Another came when the window tracery proved to be mostly crumbling concrete patching.

“There were plenty of discoveries, too, notably a previously unidentified stained glass figure of Saint Denys holding his head, found high up in the east window tracery along with demons and naked souls from a mediaeval Doom window.

“Some surprising archaeological finds also turned up in the churchyard...but that’s a story to be told later.

“It’s been a massive effort by a huge number of people - much too huge to be able to mention here - but thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone who has helped us reach this important and monumental moment.”

Church warden Charles Kightly said that of the £300,000 cost, half was met by the Heritage Lottery Fund in one of its last such grants to churches, with the remainder coming from a variety of sources including the Feoffees of St Michael’s Spurriergate, donors and legacies.

He said the church was Grade one listed, with stained glass windows dating back to 1340.

The church will now be open to visitors daily from 11am to 4pm throughout October, with‘welcomers’ assisting visitors for many of these hours.