Friends of Malew Church

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Current projects

During 2014 'The Friends' were fortunate in receiving GRANTS towards the restoration and conservation of St Lupus Malew Parish Church which included:

£1000     from The Victorian Society towards repair and replacement of Roof Lights

£1000     from the Malew PCC towards repair and replacement of Roof Lights 

£10,000  from The Manx Lottery Trust for stripping and repairing South Nave wall

£10,151 from The Crown Estate for repairs and conservation of the Three Walls of the Chancel   ....  ongoing

Applications are also underway for repairs to the West End Gable, the North Exterior Walls and Bell Cote.

East End

The Georgian interior at Malew survived pretty well until 1960, give or take some regrettable but relatively minor Victorian interventions at the crossing. In that year, however, the pews at the east end were cleared away, and in two stages, then and in the early 1980's, the area was fitted with the most appalling and inappropriate light-wood fittings.

The Friends have now obtained permission to reverse this and restore the north-east and south-east pews (the Ronaldsway and Bowling Green Pews, respectively) as a setting for the Queen Anne altar from St Mary's, Castletown. It has taken a while to source local craftsmen with the necessary skills to do the work, but we hope it will all be finished by summer 2010.

Ledgerstones Project

The Friends have obtained permission to remove the dreadful boarding-house-style carpet from the church, to reveal the original stone floors - ledgerstones in the nave and 'wing', and nineteenth-century limestone in the chancel. However, there is a run of about 45' in the nave and 8' in the wing without any stone floor, just bare (we presume post-War) concrete.

To fill this, permission has been obtained to lay new ledgerstones - the same size and material as original seventeenth or eighteenth century ledgerstones, but with contemporary inscriptions, designed by contemporary artists. We have been fortunate to work with Memorials by Artists who have helped us select some of the leading letterers in Britain today.

To pay the (substantial) costs of a hand-carved work of art, we have been very fortunate in obtaining generous sponsorship from a number of members and others. Under the scheme, those sponsoring a stone can choose the inscription - perhaps to a member of their family, or a distinguished figure from the past not otherwise memorialised - or indeed leave it blank for their own name in due course.

It is hoped to lay the stones of Phase I later in 2010. If anyone might be interested in sponsoring a stone in Phase II, please contact Jonathan Kewley.

Public Lavatory and Staff Rest-room

This is not a Friends' project - it is being orgainised by the Malew Burial Ground Authority, the local authority responsible for Malew churchyard - but the Friends have assisted with advice on design suitability.

The aim is to provide an up-to-date disabled lavatory for visitors to the churchyard, and also up-to-date facilities for maintenance staff working in the churchyard.

The design, by Anna Begbie and Val Lloyd of Architecture-in-Mann, is very sensitive but at the same time imaginative; it will be detached from the church building but be near it, in the angle between the nave and the 'wing'.It will be stone but not whitewashed, thus expressing its lower place in the hierarchy of buildings on site.


In the 1980's the building was misguidedly rendered with a hard cement render which ,as well as ruining the external appearance of the church, has trapped damp in the walls; the effect can be seen on the internal west gable and to the left of the east window.

The Friends have obtained permission to remove this render, re-point where necessary with lime mortar and then re-render the south and west walls with lime render, leaving the other walls limewashed (as they were until the '80's). Our architect is the local lime expert Ashley Pettit of Ashley Pettit Architects.

The work to the Chancel will be funded by the Crown Estates Commissioners, whose legal responsibility it is, but grant assistance will have to be obtained for the rest.

We hope shortly to be at the tender stage.

St Mary's

In the 1980's, St Mary's Church, Castletown, by the local Regency architect Thomas Brine, was quite scandalously gutted and its intact fittings from the 1820's destroyed.

The authorities advertised for the owners of its many marble monuments, but those (the vast majority) which were not claimed were abandoned, and it was thought that they had all ended up smashed in skips.

However, it turned out that a few public-spirited individuals had managed to save some, and the Friends resolved to re-erect them in Malew Church - which was, after all, always the parish church of Castletown.

Permission has been obtained, and the first three were put up in 2009 on the east wall. They are a black marble to John Wood, an eighteenth-century Governor, and two white marbles to members of the Quayle family of Rushen House, founders of the Castletown Brewery. Jonathan Kewley gave a detailed account of them at the Friends' AGM in April 2009.

There is a long way to go, however. There are four more monuments from St Mary's to go up (including the finest of the lot, that to Daniel Callow MHK). It costs well into four figures simply to put each monument back, without the restoration work which is also often needed. Any donations would therefore be most welcome - please contact Rupert Cottrell.

St Mary's also possessed a marble altar slab given by Lord Derby in 1704. This was, very fortunately, rescued with some of the monuments and is to be re-erected at Malew as part of the restoration of the east end. It comes with Victorian stone legs commissioned by the late Canon Ferrier.

Copyright © Friends of Malew Church 2006
Registered Charity No 885
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