Bid to transform Rugby's St Andrew's in a minster in the year it celebrates its 800th anniversary

Rugby Borough Council is backing a bid to transform an historic town church into a minster in the year that it celebrates its 800th anniversary

Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 5:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 5:14 pm
File image. Rugby's St Andrew's.

Councillors supported the motion put forward by Cllr Neil Sandison (Lib Dem, Eastlands) at their full council meeting this week (December 15) with the mayor agreeing to write to the Bishop of Coventry in support of the plans for St Andrew’s Church.

Cllr Sandison explained: “St. Andrew’s Church is recognised as one of the major churches of England and its contribution to the civic, the cultural and the economic life of the parish and borough demonstrates that.

“The church is now looking forward to the next chapter in its development. It has aspirations to be given the honorific title of ‘minster’.

“The earliest record of a priest serving in Rugby is from 1221 and the church’s west tower was built during the reign of Henry III (1216–1272) to serve a defensive as well as religious role and is Rugby's oldest building.

“The church was altered and enlarged in the late 19th Century to include a new east tower with a high spire. St. Andrew's Church is the only parish church in the world with two rings of bells, numbering 13 in total, one ring being in each of the two towers. The church houses other artefacts of medieval Rugby including the 13th Century parish chest and a medieval font.”

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Craig McQueen (Lib Dem, Eastlands) added: “St Andrew’s isn't only one of the most historical and significant buildings in Rugby, it is also one of the most important in terms of community. It anchors the community in the town centre and if we are serious about regenerating the town centre it is something we really should support.”

The motion, which called on the council to support the bid to become a Minster and to write to the Bishop of Coventry was given cross-party approval.

Cllr Sandison added: “I’m sure that giving our weight to their bid will add some value.”