Arson-hit Hillmorton chapel rises again

A special service is being held at the chapel on Sunday
A special service is being held at the chapel on Sunday

A cemetery chapel in Hillmorton which was torched by arsonists has been restored to its former glory.

Arsonists targeted the chapel at Watts Lane cemetery in November, with the blaze causing extensive damage to the building and destroying the chapel’s historic bier.

Some the damage done to the chapel last year

Some the damage done to the chapel last year

But nearly a year on, a £50,000 restoration and refurbishment has been completed - and a service of dedication takes place at the chapel on Sunday to celebrate.

The restoration includes the return of the chapel’s historic Taylor bell, which was removed from the chapel’s roof several years ago during a spate of metal thefts in the borough.

The bell has now been installed at the entrance to the chapel, while inside a wooden cross which survived the blaze takes pride of place in a glass case.

The refurbishment also includes a new bier after the council managed to trace a replacement.

The blaze was started after arsonists removed one of the chapel’s windows to climb inside before stacking furniture to build a fire.

The arsonists struck just months after the council had completed a refurbishment of the chapel.

Sean Lawson, Rugby Borough Council’s head of environmental services, said: “The fire was a mindless act of vandalism, costing thousands of pounds and robbing the community of a place of worship and contemplation.

“The restoration was a challenging and complicated project, but I am delighted the council can now return the chapel to the community in wonderful condition.”

Sunday’s service of dedication starts at 2.30pm. All welcome.