Charity Auction Report

British ancient artefacts stay in UK as international collectors outbid in rare charity auction to help save historic Beverley churches (Saturday 8 July).

–  Interest attracted from global collectors including China, USA (New York), Mauritius, Bulgaria, Portugal, Sweden and Ireland but all were unsuccessfull

– Organisers hail ‘unbelievable success’ as charity auction of rare ancient artefacts and public items raises thousands of pounds (GBP) to help repair historic Beverley churches

– 20 stone pinnacles from Beverley Minster dating back to 13thC raise £15,720 – top bid of £4,400. Other items from the Minster included brass lights that raised over £1700, an oak panel – £1000 and metal gates £550

– A 19thC hand cart with wooden wheels and steel rims and suspension, originally used to transport scaffold, stone etc at Beverley Minster, fetched £1000.

– 14 9thC oak pews from St Mary’s Church with floral roundel to one end by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Raised over £3000

– Over 200 lots including additional items donated by local people raised a total of just under £39,000

– Among the highlights from public lots were a 9 carat gold pocket watch £500, Omega wristwatch £650, reproduction Victorian costume £130, George Dickinson painting £200, silver goblets £240, walnut longcase clock £1000. Silver coffee pot £500, Claire West painting £300 and a dressing screen £190,

Two remarkable ancient English church buildings in the East Yorkshire market town of Beverley have an international reputation but face a massive challenge to raise the funds needed to repair and renovate them. The local community hopes to raise millions of pounds over the next decade to repair roofs, windows and crumbling stonework.

There is a compelling history from the founder St John, reputed to have performed healing miracles, attracting pilgrims including the early kings of England, answering prayers and bringing victory to battles including Agincourt by Henry V.

Beverley Minster and St Mary’s Church are collaborating to raise the necessary funds rather than compete in a difficult time for fundraisers amid the cost-of-living crisis. But the results of yesterday’s charity auction show how much people in the UK value these rare ancient buildings.

Martin Needler, former chair of the Beverley Minster Old Fund, came up with the concept of the auction in aid of the Two Churches One Town Charity. He said: “Wow what can I say? To raise nearly £39,000 was absolutely unbelievable. Never did I think that a little idea of – “What can we do with all this stuff in the workshop yard?” – would turn into such a successful event.

“Our excellent auctioneer Caroline Hawley was on her feet for over three hours. I cannot thank her and the Hawley’s team enough for all the fantastic work they have done. I have had a really great experience working with them all and raising so much money for the cause.

“Plus all the publicity and international awareness the auction has created for both The Minster and St Mary’s, and the Two Churches One Town charity, has been phenomenal.”

Auctioneer Caroline Hawley, who is well known from her appearances on BBC TV’s Bargain Hunt, says she was delighted with the outcome: “It’s very hard to predict what these types of lots will raise, especially rare ancient artefacts, but I must say the response was fantastic, with some great results.”

Caroline has agreed that people can still donate to the charity by submitting items to Hawley’s Auctioneers for a special section in their future auctions with the next one being 9-10 September at Beverley Racecourse when cameras for Bargain Hunt are currently planned to be in attendance. Anyone with potential items can contact Hawley’s via email: or telephone their office on 01482 868193.

Tim Carlisle, chairman of the Two Churches One Town charity emphasised: “We’ve got two gothic churches that are famous in Europe and considered to be the best of that build. What nobody wants is the nightmare scenario of having to close these buildings because they’re unsafe. If we do nothing their survival is in danger. Over the next ten years we need to raise millions of pounds (GBP) to repair crumbling stonework, large failing stained-glass windows and leaking roofs, in addition to day-to-day maintenance.”