Saint Mary's Parish Church
Holy Island
Vicar: Rev'd Dr. Paul M. Collins
Wardens: S Quilty and M Bushnell
Holy Island Coat of Arms

Paths & Lighting: The churchyard faces east into the North Sea totally exposed to the elements. For the local community as well as tens of thousands of visitors and pilgrims it is the only way to access the Church or the adjacent Lindisfarne Priory. Up until 'phase one' the paths were narrow and inadequate. Pedestrian and wheelchair access was difficult and with almost no lighting safety was a concern.
Paved and widened paths Efficient electric lighting
Phase One modifications have enabled the widening and resurfacing of pathways and the provision of an efficient electric lighting system. Also within the churchyard, replacement oak gates were commissioned and fitted at both entrances.

Church Entrance: Before this phase of restoration, visitors entered the Church from the south side by stepping down into the porch then crossing to the church door. Opening the door revealed the immediate onset of full width stone leading down onto the floor of the nave. Access was difficult for funerals, impossible for wheelchair users and in poor lighting a risk to the sick and infirm as well as the able-bodied.
Access by steps Access by ramp
Level access to Church porch. Phase One improvements included lowering the external path to produce a level entrance through the porch. Resiting the font to the centre aisle enabled the steps at the nave entrance to be enlarged, fitted with a bannister and a ramp for wheelchair users to be built along the east wall.

The Priest's Door - exterior The Priest's Door - interior The Priest's Door: In living memory there has always been a blank door panel on the inner southern wall of Chancel mirroring a doorway in the outer wall. It is not clear at what stage in the history of St.Mary's this was permanently blocked up. During phase II of restoration it was planned that a stone extension would be built to facilitate a much-needed larger vestry. The most appropriate site would enclose this medieval Priest's door. The external, existing structural detail would be preserved within this enclosure.
Phase One work included the opening of the chancel wall and the commissioning and fitting of a purpose built oak door. The task was one of the first tasks to be completed that affected the church building itself such that it would provide for everyday public access to the church during the period other internal works were taking place.

(to be completed by January 2010)
Clergy Facilities: The Parish Church hosts a minimum of three services every day of the year. Christian festivals and ever-growing numbers of visitors and Christian groups increases the demand on Church facilities (as well as clergy) even more. Service
The existing vestry is about the size of a small boxroom. preparation is carried out in the Church vestry. It can include changing clothing (for both sexes) and preparing the sacraments for communion. Some participants may have disabilities restricting movement.
The current vestry is about the size of a small boxroom. It does not have a water supply: essential in personal hygeine and food preparation. The nearest toilet is 200 yards away in the vicarage: this can be particularly stressful in the early morning or a long service (or on cold days). Storage for vestments is extremely sparse.
Phase Two: Planning is approved and mains water laid into the building. A minimal unisex toilet is being constructed. A key facility is to be provided for disabled members of the congregation.
New Church Vestry: Phase Two site is well advance in the south corner between the nave and chancel.
The important heritage features in the wall which can be seen in the upper photograph (the doorway itself and the adjacent small, arched window) will be retained inside the new stone structure. The vestry will provide twice the amount of space currently available for service preparation together with increased storage for vestments. The proposed site of the new vestry.

Building the new vestry.
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