Dales council completes £50,000 Wirksworth church railings restoration

Helen Carrington, Derbyshire Dales District Council's parks and street scene officer, and the restored railings at St Mary's Church in Wirksworth.
Helen Carrington, Derbyshire Dales District Council's parks and street scene officer, and the restored railings at St Mary's Church in Wirksworth.

Derbyshire Dales District Council has completed work to restore and protect the historic boundary railings at a Wirksworth church.

The council is responsible for maintaining the St Mary’s churchyard and fully funded the £50,000 project after an application for grant funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected.

Parks and street scene officer Helen Carrington said: “The railings and plinth were installed by a wealthy vicar in 1832, apparently to keep the churchyard ‘holy’ but more probably to prevent townsfolk using it as common ground for hanging out washing and taking short cuts.

“The work was done to conservation specifications and standards, which take longer than modern processes.”

The authority worked with Wirksworth Civic Society on the specification, which included targeted works on some areas and more protective works on other sections, such as removing flaky paintwork and applying an oil wax.

Elsewhere, missing features were replaced, railings repaired and repainted, and the stone plinth repaired to securely seat the railings as part of the comprehensive repairs to two areas.