Falling masonry at St Mary's

The footpath at the west end of St Mary's churchyard is taped off after masonry falls.

A small stone decorative finial fell off the top of the south spire at the west end of St Mary’s Norman church in Rye last week, and the footpath has been closed as a precaution. A lightning conductor will need to be reattached, and the church surveyor will be checking out for any other loose stonework, writes Charles Harkness.
Photo: Kevin McCarthy.


  1. The Church are taking this matter very seriously, the Diocesan experts responsible for St Mary’s and other ancient buildings have been consulted and it is their advice that the problem is likely to be caused by ironwork reinforcing bars having rusted and now fracturing the masonry to the extent that the finial was dislodged. The extent of the problem has to be assessed and will need scaffolding at significant cost. A stone mason and the church authorities are investigating and until we receive their report the path will have to remain closed.
    The Church Quinquennial Report is due this year and will address all masonry and other issues relating to our 900 year old building.

  2. It may look ‘small’ the finial on top of the south spire but once it hit the ground the true size could be seen. It fell on Maunday Thursday an inch away form a person using the pathway. It so easily could have been fatal. Their guardian angels certainly protected them. They must have been shocked by they near miss and I hope they have received a note of sympathy from some one from St Mary’s.
    I am pleased that St Mary’s are taking it very seriously as they have always done.


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