Thieves leave 15th century Rugby church exposed to rain and in need of £30,000 repair

Tarpaulin sheets cover the pews in an attempt to prevent further damage.
Tarpaulin sheets cover the pews in an attempt to prevent further damage.

Callous lead thieves left a 15th century Rugby church open to the pouring rain in the second attack on the historic building in recent months.

On the morning of Sunday May 27, in the wake of severe rain and flash flooding across the borough, the vicar of St Boltoph’s church entered the building to discover water and daylight coming through gaps in the roof.

Part of the section of roof that has been stripped of its lead.

Part of the section of roof that has been stripped of its lead.

It was then discovered that thieves had taken a large amount of lead from the roof – leaving only wooden boards between torrential rain and the inside of the building.

Rainwater has destroyed books, soaked carpets and pew cushions – and tarpaulin sheets have been spread across the pews in an effort to prevent further damage.

The Rev Paul Wilkinson said the theft came just days before contractors were set to replace the lead previously stolen and install a roof alarm system.

Now the parish is having to raise £30,000 to repair the damage from this latest incident because they can no longer claim from their insurer.

Mr Wilkinson said: “We can’t claim any more on insurance. So we’re now reliant on fundraising and the generosity of all those who care about this beautiful Grade I listed building.”

A JustGiving page has been set up, so far raising £400.

Churchwarden Mike Beevers said parishioners are shocked and appalled, but have come together to support the church with donations and offers of help.

Mr Beevers said the roof will be covered with plastic sheeting as a temporary fix.

He said it is hoped, subject to approval, the roof will be re-covered in a form of coated steel that closely resembles lead.

The Newbold-on-Avon church was built in around 1455 on the site of an earlier church.

To donate to the parish’s roof fund, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stbotolphschurch-newboldonavon