The Lost Treasures of St Sidwell's

by Martin Weiler in Exeter, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 4th May 2017 we successfully raised £5,523 with 52 supporters in 28 days

To restore unique stained glass windows and two statues rescued from the rubble of St Sidwell's during the Exeter Blitz, 75 years ago.

by Martin Weiler in Exeter, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Help us extend our work to revive the rich history of Sidwell Street that was lost in 1942, by creating a funky archway over the entranceway to St Sidwell's Community Centre, reflecting & updating Victorian heritage. 


St Sidwell's Community Centre is a thriving community hub in the centre of Exeter, based in a 1950s former church. We're an independent charity that brings together people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. At St Sidwell’s everyone works together.

On May 4th, 75 years ago, St Sidwell’s Church was bombed during the Exeter Blitz of 1942. Its unique and beautiful stained glass windows featuring Exeter's Patron Saint were rescued, put into storage and forgotten about until their recent rediscovery. Two statues, of St Sidwella and St Boniface, by world renowned Victorian sculptor Harry Hems, also survived the Blitz but, until recently, lay forgotten in our grounds.  We want to restore these lost treasures, and put them on display at St Sidwell’s Community Centre where they can be enjoyed by everybody. We aim to raise £5000 of the £8000 needed for restoration through a Crowdfunding appeal that will be launched on April 6th.

We hope that by the 75th anniversary of the Exeter Blitz on May 4th we’ll be remembering the Blitz and also celebrating reaching our Crowdfunder target of £5000 to restore the Lost Treasures of St Sidwell’s.

Although based in a building that was once a church, we have no religious affiliation. We welcome people and groups of all faiths and none. 

The Lost Treasures, once restored, will be homed at St Sidwell's Community Centre for everyone to enjoy and feel proud of.

St Sidwella - Exeter's Patron Saint

Have you heard of Exeter's Patron Saint? The Anglo-Saxon legend goes that Sidwella's rich land owning father, Benna, died, leaving his daughter in the care of a cruel stepmother, who was jealous of her beauty and virtue. Her inheritance may have had something to do with it also! The evil step mother plotted Sidwella's death and paid two corn reapers to creep up on her as she knelt in prayer in a field and cut off her head with a scythe. Miraculously, a spring of pure water appeared from the ground where her head came to rest. For the next three nights, the spot was illuminated by a heavenly shaft of light. On the fourth night she was seen walking in the fields with her head re-attached to her body: at that place a church was built, and named St Sidwell's. Sidwell Street is named after her and it's the only Sidwell Street in the world.

Harry Hems - sculptor extraordinaire

Harry Hems was a world-renowned architectural and ecclesiastical master sculptor and wood carver who ran his thriving business from a workshop on Longbrook Street and was a larger-than-life character in the parish of St Sidwell’s.  At the company's peak, after 1895, Hems employed over a hundred craftsmen, and also had staff in London, Oxford and Ireland. Hems was commissioned to produce work for many churches and several cathedrals across England, and in America and Australia winning prizes in Philadelphia in 1876, the Chicago World Fair in 1893 and the Antwerp Exhibition in 1894. Hems was a churchwarden at St Sidwell's church in 1895 and donated two statues of St Sidwella and (our other famous local saint) St Boniface to the church. After the Exeter Blitz these two statues were neglected and rediscovered languising in the community centre gardens. 

Rewards:

We have been really lucky to have some amazing local artists donate their work for our Crowdfunder and we'd like to say a huge thankyou to them. We hope you'll grab this opportunity to have an artwork gem in your home or office by choosing one of our rewards embracing Exeter, and St Sidwell's, rich heritage. We also have some exciting and unique event experiences. Treat yourself and help a great cause.

Print by Catherine Cartwright:

Watch Catherine creating it: http://youtu.be/YJwOYi0S1GM

St Sidwell's in c.1530 by Richard Parker:

Sidwella story graphic by Mai Sanchez:

 

Sidwella stencil by Chloe Pooley:

This project has been approved for funding through the Heritage + The Crowd match funding. It has received a bridge of 50% towards its fundraising target from Heritage Lottery Fund.

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

THANKYOU! A huge thank you from us and if you're in Exeter during May or June drop in for a free coffee on us and pick up one of our special Sidwella pin badges.

£10 or more

7 of 100 claimed

£10 Reward

EVENT - LOST TREASURES: An invite to our public viewing of the Lost Treasures of St Sidwell’s where you will be among the first to see some of the newly restored stained glass which your money will have helped to restore, as well as our unique Harry Hems statues. This event will be run as a special thank you to our funders & will take place on Saturday 17th June 3-6pm (drop-in). Also enjoy a free cup of coffee with us & a unique Sidwella badge.

£10 or more

0 of 8 claimed

£10 Reward

BREAD MAKING COURSE: Ever fancied trying your hand at the ancient craft of bread making? Enjoy an afternoon of baking in our kitchen and take home what you bake. Date to be arranged with participants.

£10 or more

0 of 8 claimed

£10 Reward

PIZZA MAKING COURSE: Have you ever tried making your own pizza from scratch? Learn how to make your own pizza dough and get creative with your toppings. Take your pizza home or enjoy it in the café space after the workshop. Date to be arranged with participants.

£10 or more

0 of 6 claimed

£10 Reward

ORIGAMI WORKSHOP: Learn the art of origami and make your own paper birds and butterflies to take home in a 2 hour craft session at St Sidwell’s with The Paper Florist. Date to be arranged with participants.

£15 or more

0 of 15 claimed

£15 Reward

EVENT - ECFC TOUR: A tour of Exeter City Football Club (set up as St Sidwell's United) with Martin Weiler (Chair of the Exeter City Supporters Trust and St Sidwell's Community Centre), finishing up at St Sidwell's Community Centre for coffee and cake. Date to be confirmed with participants. You are also warmly invited to our public viewing of The Lost Treasures on June 17th.

£20 or more

6 of 15 claimed

£20 Reward

BESPOKE NOTEBOOK: Receive a bespoke handmade notebook with a laser etched cover featuring a design of Sidwella by Catherine Cartwright. Your unique, Luxe edition, recycled handmade book will be made using post consumer waste paper by Inky Fingers Printshop. Approx size A5: choose blue, green or red. Available to collect from St Sidwell's from June 1st. You are also warmly invited to our public viewing of The Lost Treasures on June 17th.

£25 or more

5 of 30 claimed

£25 Reward

EVENT - HIDDEN HEMS: Receive an invite to our Lost Treasures of St Sidwell’s opening event (June 16th 2-5pm) at Harry's Restaurant, Exeter (Harry Hems original workshop). Enjoy High Tea, a glass of fizz & a behind the scenes look at Harry's office (still with original features). RAMM curator Tom Cadbury will bring a rarely seen Hems collection of medieval woodwork & talk about his work.You are also warmly invited to our funders event on June 17th

£35 or more

3 of 30 claimed

£35 Reward

ART TREAT! Receive a Limited Edition High Quality Signed A4 Lino Print of St Sidwella by Exeter artist Catherine Cartwright. Available to collect from St Sidwell's from June 1st. You are also warmly invited to our public viewing of The Lost Treasures on June 17th.

£75 or more

6 of 20 claimed

£75 Reward

ART TREAT! Receive one of only twenty A3 professionally framed prints of St Sidwell’s in about 1530 by renowned local historian and illustrator Richard Parker. Available to collect from St Sidwell's Community Centre from June 1st. You are also warmly invited to our public viewing of The Lost Treasures on June 17th.

£100 or more

1 of 10 claimed

£100 Reward

ART TREAT! Receive a large (61cm by 76cm) Limited Edition Signed Colour Stencil Painting of St Sidwella (1 of 10) by Exeter artist Chloe Pooley. On stretched canvas and ready to hang - each one unique. Available to collect from St Sidwell's from June 1st. You are also warmly invited to our public viewing of The Lost Treasures on June 17th.

£150 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£150 Reward

ART TREAT! Own an original work by local artist Mai Sanchez, featuring the Sidwella story in a modern, unique style (A4 size). Professionally framed, mounted and printed. Available to collect from St Sidwell's from June 1st. You are also warmly invited to our public viewing of The Lost Treasures on June 17th.

£250 or more

0 of 5 claimed

£250 Reward

SUPER SUPPORTER: Have your name inscribed on a display plaque for the Harry Hems statues and restored St Sidwella stained glass. You will also be invited to our opening Lost Treasures of St Sidwell's event at Harry's on June 16th and public viewing of The Lost Treasures on June 17th. And of course receive a special thank you from our trustees.

£300 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£300 Reward

UNIQUE DINNER EXPERIENCE: Enjoy a delicious three course dinner made especially for you and 10 friends, cooked by the centre manager and our heritage team. You choose the theme: Greek, Moroccan, Italian or Indian cuisine (or another international theme) and you pick the date. You will also be the first to dine in our newly renamed Hems room. Be spoilt, for a good cause.

£500 or more

1 of 2 claimed

£500 Reward

HIRE A DJ! Our Heritage Coordinator AKA the esteemed DJ Louie Louie will come and DJ at your birthday/wedding party or event within a reasonable radius of Exeter :) You are also warmly invited to our public viewing of The Lost Treasures on June 17th.

£1,000 or more

1 of 1 claimed

£1,000 Reward

LOST TREASURES SPONSOR: Be the sponsor of our Lost Treasures of St Sidwell's public event, as well as your name on our leaflets, displays and website. A special letter of thanks from our trustees and all the publicity you want.

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