A new appeal has been launched at one of Hull's most historic churches to help fund conservation work on a series of monuments.

St. Mary's Church in Lowgate is currently undergoing a £1m improvement scheme to install new heating, toilets, a small kitchen, electrics and a new floor to secure its long-term future.

However grant funding secured for that project after a 10-year fund-raising campaign does not cover necessary work needed to conserve some of the church's distinctive collection of family monuments.

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In advance of the interior facelift work starting, officials at the 14th century church called in expert surveyors to examine the condition of the monuments, many of which commemorate key figures and families in the history of Hull.

As a result, six were identified as requiring work with three listed as a high priority.

The city centre church was recently awarded a £2,500 grant by The Georgian Group towards the cost of conserving two of the monuments commemorating the Pease and Hall families having already been awarded a total of £4,000 by three other trusts.

The Pease family monument in St. Mary's Church in Lowgate
The Pease family monument in St. Mary's Church in Lowgate

However, St Mary’s says it still needs more help to meet the remaining total of £17,767 needed to save all of the monuments regarded as being in the worst condition.

Church project officer Amanda Habergham said: "These fascinating monuments tell the story of Hull’s pioneering families.

"We do want to save them so that in future more people can learn about the city’s history by visiting St Mary’s."

Dating from around 1812, the Hall monument commemorates John Hall and his parents Elizabeth and Samuel.

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The Halls were Hull merchants and shipowners with both father and son also serving as freemen and burgesses of the town. Records from 1809 show John owning 16 vessels, many working in the timber trade with Scandinavia.

The monument to Joseph Pease and family dates between 1778 and 1840 and marks the family banking dynasty founded by Joseph who opened both Hull and Yorkshire's first ever bank in High Street.

The third monument requiring urgent work commemorates Amelia and George Tayler while others needing less extensive work involve the Dobson, Bannister and Barker families.

The brass Tayler family monument at St.Mary's Church in Lowgate
The brass Tayler family monument at St.Mary's Church in Lowgate

Amanda said: "We are trying to trace members of the Hall, Pease, Tayler, Dobson, Bannister and Barker families who may wish to assist us financially to preserve these monuments, so would love to hear from anyone connected with these families.

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"Likewise, if anyone feels that they can support the work going on to save St Mary’s we do hope they will contact us as we still have a project shortfall."

The medieval church, which does not receive any Church of England funding towards the building, continues to open as a place or worship despite the current building work. It also hosts three soup kitchens a week run by Hull Homeless Outreach.

The on-going improvement scheme is expected to be completed in Spring next year.

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