A 900-year-old church in East Yorkshire will have damaged carvings replaced with figures celebrating feminist and Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) figures.
The woke restoration project of St Mary’s Church in Beverley is being spearheaded by Vicar Reverend Rebecca Lumley and has been approved by the Church of England.
The church, which dates back to the year 1120, is set to feature replacement carvings celebrating Polish-French physicist Marie Curie, British-Jamaican businesswoman Mary Seacole, airship engineer Hilda Lyon, aviator Amy Johnson, astronaut Helen Sharman, feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, and Queen Elizabeth II.
Explaining her decision to focus on feminist and BAME icons, Vicar Reverend Rebecca Lumley told the local Hull Daily Mail: “The contribution of women to humanity isn’t always properly recognised in the telling of history, and throughout history, women’s voices have been silenced.
“We take seriously the Church’s role in battling inequality and injustice. And so we hope that this project will help highlight the remarkable achievements of these women, and provide hope and inspiration for future generations.”
Permission to go ahead with the controversial redesign of the church was granted by the chancellor of the local diocese, Canon Peter Collier QC, who said that the original carvings were so badly eroded that it was “impossible to tell what they were meant to be or whether there was any theme to them.”
The original carvings in the church date back to 1520 when the central area of the church was rebuilt.
Collier said that the women whose names have been mooted for the project had “played a significant role in relation to the advancement of science or human knowledge” and added: “In my judgement, it is entirely appropriate to celebrate these lives for their human achievement.”
He also said that the worldwide impact of Queen Elizabeth is “beyond question”.
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The announcement of the feminist installations at St Mary’s comes less than a week after the Church of England said that it would be issuing guidance to its 12,500 parishes and 42 cathedrals to review monuments and other religious installations supposedly connected to the slave trade and the colonialism of the British Empire for removal.
The iconoclastic campaign has already begun in some parishes, with St Peter’s church in Dorchester, for example, covering up a plaque honouring a plantation owner who is said to have quashed a slave rebellion.
The plaque, which is currently pending removal, is covered with a notice stating that it “commemorates actions and uses language which are totally unacceptable to us today”.
Bristol Cathedral has also joined the movement by removing a window dedicated to British philanthropist and parliamentarian Sir Edward Colston, whose statue was torn down by BLM radicals last June in Bristol over his business links to the slave trade.
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