Thousands of books will be on sale at St Mary’s Church, Devizes, on Saturday, for the first fundraising event towards a new £1.2million extension.
A total of 6,000 books have been donated to the church, including a substantial number from d’Arcy Books in The Chequers when it closed earlier this year and from the estate of Long Street resident Patrick Norton.
Tony Scorer, project manager for St Mary’s Future Group, said he was taken aback at the number of books donated.
He said: “It was a surprising amount. “It took four car loads to transport the books from d’Arcy Books, while Patrick Norton’s books totalled 400.
“There is a full range of fiction and non-fiction including art, biographies, travel, lifestyle and geography.”
The sale, from 9.30am to 2pm, will also include DVDs, CDs, videos and bric a brac.
All money raised will go towards the regeneration project to transform the Grade I-listed church into a multi-use space for the community.
Plans for the innovative changes will also be on show.
The project consists of building a cloister-style extension in the churchyard which would house toilets, changing spaces, small meeting rooms and facilities for catering, storage and administration. In addition, the nave of the church would be opened out and moveable seating fitted so it could be used for performances, exhibitions, receptions and gatherings.
The project is to cost £1.2 million – £200,000 more than originally estimated following the Government’s changes to claiming back VAT.
The church has been promised £250,000 by the Poor Lands Charity, which maintains the fabric of the building.
There have been no burials in St Mary’s Churchyard for more than 150 years and the new building will be to the north of the medieval church on land which does not have any marked graves.
However, initial archaeological investigations carried out for the parochial church council have indicated that some graves may be disturbed.
St Mary’s rector, the Rev Canon Paul Richardson, said: “Any remains found will be retrieved carefully and initially laid to rest within St Mary’s Church, then reburied in the churchyard.”
The rector said that when the new building is completed, an engraved stone will be dedicated within the cloister garth or courtyard as a memorial to those who at present have nothing to mark their burial place.