Saved by the cross

02 November 2006

by Nigel Burnham

The future of an East Yorkshire church with an average Sunday attendance of just eight could be secured next week when a recently discovered treasure is auctioned at Christie’s.

  A 15th-century processional cross stood hidden behind the altar of St Mary’s, Thixendale, for more than 100 years — until it was spotted by a visitor two years ago.

The church has since discovered that the cross, which stands two feet tall and is mounted on a marble plinth, was donated to St Mary’s by its first Vicar, the Revd William Fox, in 1898. It will go under the hammer at Christie’s on 9 November with a reserve price of £5000.

  “When we found out how valuable it was, we realised we couldn’t keep it,” said Pauline Foster, a churchwarden. “St Mary’s is an open church, and we couldn’t afford to insure it.”

Proceeds from the sale will go towards matched funding for grants to install heating at the church.

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