After two and a half years, the funding for the first phase of restoration of Selby Abbey’s roof is nearly complete. In 2018, the Selby Abbey Trust created the 950th Anniversary Roof appeal in order to raise £3 million for urgent and essential repairs for the roof of the magnificent 11th century abbey. Since then, £918,000 out of £950,000 has been raised, meaning that, as soon as government guidelines allow, work on the roof will soon begin.

The work of Phase 1 will focus mainly on the south side of Selby Abbey where repairs are more urgent, with a view to complete the work by early 2021. Despite the pause bought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, this keeps all further delay to the original timetable to a minimum. With discussions taking place with Selby District Council and other partners in the project, the Selby Abbey trust is hopeful that Phase 2 will be similarly successful, with ideas about turning Phase 2 into a wider community project.

Initial inspections confirmed that failing lead on the roofs and multiple cracks in the gutter systems and asphalt covers are allowing water into the Abbey through damaged and eroded masonry. The restoration work includes re-leading the south nave aisle roof, repairing high level gutters on the central tower, north transept and north and south sides of the nave as well as replacing eroded and damaged stonework, especially the parapets. Site access and scaffolding are very expensive.

Therefore, combining stonework repair with guttering and roofing restoration gives better value for money but means a great deal of work overall. Doing this work is crucial to keeping water out and preserving the fabric of the Abbey.