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.