Gem of a church set for special celebration

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A Scarborough church is getting ready for a weekend of celebration to commemorate 150 years of worship.

St Martin-on-the-Hill Church, in Albion Road, South Cliff, is celebrating the special anniversary with a number of events throughout the year.

St Martins church Ruth Thompson,FR David Dixon,Geoffrey Smith.Picture Richard Ponter 132032a

St Martins church Ruth Thompson,FR David Dixon,Geoffrey Smith.Picture Richard Ponter 132032a

This weekend the church will be hosting a flower festival titled Divine Designs, which will feature Pre-Raphaelite glass flowers and vestments.

There will be a display of work, based on stained glass windows, by youngsters from Braeburn Infant School and a display by Val Green of the Stained Glass Centre at Killerby.

Wheatcroft School Pre-School Playgroup will also present some of their work, based on a theme of Joseph and his coat of many colours.

The event will run from tomorrow until Monday, with the church open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Monday, and from noon to 4pm on Sunday.

Admission is free and refreshments will be available. An opening event will take place tomorrow night from 7pm and wine will be served.

Tickets, priced at £5, are available from Cathy Cook on (01723) 363480.

Father David Dixon said he hoped as many people as possible would come along and enjoy the weekend’s events.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a special time as we are celebrating a significant event in church and we also have a baptism on Sunday.

“I’d encourage people to come and join us. Everyone is welcome to come and look round - we have lots of information available.”

Flower festival organiser Ruth Thomson added: “A lot of work goes into the flowers. We’ve done similar things over the years and we want this one to be really special with it being the 150th anniversary.”

The church is packed with history and features one of Britain’s most comprehensive collections of Pre-Raphaelite religious art, with work by William Morris, Burne-Jones, Rossetti and Madox Brown.

Church guide, Dr Geoffrey Smith, said: “The church is full of treasures. People come from all over the world to see it.”

The church was largely paid for by South Cliff resident, Miss Mary Craven, who was one of four daughters of a retired surgeon from Hull.

The committee had already secured her assistance to the total of £1,000, and she then offered to guarantee the full £6,000 building cost, with an additional £1,000 needed to endow the parish.

Dr Smith said: “Her father had died and she was generous with her share of the inheritance.

“Miss Craven also helped to select Bodley as the architect. She had a great influence on the church.”

Miss Craven’s contribution is remembered in the church to this day as she has her own pew, complete with a bronze plaque bearing her name.

The architect, George Frederick Bodley, was influenced and inspired by a group of artists at the time known as the Pre-Raphaelites.

The leading members were William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, who had become established figures in the world of art.

The church’s pulpit was designed by Bodley and features a painting, on its north side, by Rossetti. It depicts the Annunciation and the model for Mary was almost certainly William Morris’s wife Jane.

The front panels were painted by George Campfield to designs by Brown and Morris. Other treasures include an altar frontal by William Morris.