Roof over Shakespeare's bones risks collapse

Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:17am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The roof of the church where William Shakespeare's remains lie is in danger of collapse, the group dedicated to the church's preservation said on Monday.

The Friends of Shakespeare's Church charity said on their website that the beams of the chancel roof of Holy Trinity church in Shakespeare's birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon, which sits above the bard's bust, gravestone and final resting place, are rotting and could collapse.

The 800-year-old church is already undergoing renovation work and the rotting beams have added an extra wrinkle and additional costs to efforts to preserve it.

Shakespeare was baptized as well as buried in the church, buried his son and married off his daughter there. His gravesite carries the inscription: "Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones."

Holy Trinity vicar the Reverend Martin Gorick said the roof repair comes as an urgent and unexpected issue, despite restoration work that has already been completed at the church.

"We ask friends, unknown as well as known to us, to help us meet Shakespeare's wishes," Gorick said in a statement on the website (www.shakespeareschurch.org).

The solution to the problem is an innovative encasing and invisible frame in steel. Because of this, costs are expected to be contained within 50,000 pounds ($80,890), the website plea said.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Steve Addison)

 
<p>An interior view shows Holy Trinity Church where William Shakespeare was baptized and buried in Stratford-upon-Avon, southern England September 21, 2009. The roof of the church where William Shakespeare's remains lie is in danger of collapse, the group dedicated to the church's preservation said on Monday. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh</p>