Kelso church appealing for cash to save its spire

Kelso North Church.
Kelso North Church.

Kelso’s skyline could lose one of its most distinctive features if more money can’t be found to cover the cost of maintaining a historic church spire.

Kelso North Church minister the Rev Anna Rodwell has issued an appeal for donations to help meet a repair bill expected to be up to £30,000.

That latest bill follows another for £34,000 seven years ago, requiring the congregation of 960 the Bowmont Street place of worship shares with Ednam Church to dig deep to make ends meet.

“We have kept the spire towering into the sky for 150 years,” said Anna.

“It is one of the town’s most magnificent features, but the strain of funding its maintenance is becoming critical.

“Urgent repairs are needed, as well as medium and long-term maintenance, but the money to manage all this is getting harder for the church congregation to raise on its own.

“If we cannot raise the money in the community in Kelso we will have to face the dreadful prospect of removing the spire.”

The construction of the present Kelso North Church began in 1862 at the behest of then minister Horatius Bonar after he was forced to give back his congregation’s previous home in Inch Road to the Church of Scotland following the disruption caused by its split from the Free Church of Scotland in 1843.

It opened for worship in December 1866, having been built, under the guidance of architect Frederick Pilkington, at a cost of £6,139.

“Unfortunately, the cost of maintaining the spire each year is a great deal more than that today,” added Anna, minister there since September last year.

“We have struggled to keep the building in its present state because it is regarded as one of Scotland’s best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture, but this annual burden has reached breaking point.

“We need to reach out beyond the congregation alone to the whole community or we will not be able to keep the landmark spire.

“I know local people and visitors alike have a lift of the heart when they see the spire in the distance and know that they are close to Kelso.

“We want to keep that spirit alive for future generations.”

For further details about the parish church’s history or to make a donation to help safeguard its future, call 01573 224154 or go to www.