'This won't keep us down' - Medieval Knaresborough chapel targeted by vandals overwhelmed by public support

Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag had its stained glass window smashed by vandals.
Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag had its stained glass window smashed by vandals.

Members of the Grade I chapel in Knaresborough which had its beautiful stained glass window smashed have thanked the community for their support.

'This won't keep us down' - Medieval Knaresborough chapel targeted by vandals overwhelmed by public support

The Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag, on Abbey Road, was the target of a cruel vandal attack earlier this week, with the unique and important medieval window being smashed by a large boulder, after a purpose-made metal mesh grill protecting the window was ripped off.

But members of the Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag Trust have been moved by the support they have received on social media since the incident, with almost £400 being donated by the public.

The Trust is now looking to get the window repaired.

Natalie Maunder, a member of the Trust, said: "As we are a charitable trust we can really struggle for funds sometimes, but we have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from everyone. Within minutes of us posting about it, we got comments about donations and had raised so much money in such a short space of time. We really appreciate it."

Mrs Maunder also pleaded for the public to continue to support the chapel, by visiting regularly and making the most of the historic landmark.

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She added: "Everyone that goes finds a sense of calm, whether they are religious or not. It's such a lovely place to just sit and reflect, and the surroundings are stunning. We would love for more people to make the most of it and continue to utilise such a fantastic space."

The Trust is also in need of more volunteers to help with the upkeep of the facilities.

Despite the trauma of the recent incident, they have said they are committed to keeping up the good work and staying positive about what they do, but that they may have to make some security changes in the future.

Mrs Maunder said: "It's business as usual, we won't let this dampen our spirits. But we are discussing new security measures - it's a massive shame because we want it to be as inclusive as possible but we just can't keep replacing windows. We don't have the budget for it."

These are the offenders who have appeared at Harrogate's Magistrates' Court

For more information and to support the chapel, visit www.hapelofourladyofthecrag.btck.co.uk

A history of Our Lady of the Crag

The Crown gave permission for the chapel to be built - its original use was as a rest and prayer spot for pilgrims travelling to the shrine at Knaresborough Priory.

The chapel was deconsecrated during the Reformation, although it was used for secret Catholic worship in later centuries.

At one point, there were rough 'shanty' homes hewn into the Crag, and there are still marks on the sandstone that show where they stood. They were gone by the end of the Victorian period.

The chapel became a shrine in 1916 and later passed into the ownership of Ampleforth Abbey, who maintained it for 100 years until transferring it into the care of a local volunteer group in 2016.