Abbey can retain Millennium Cross

The appeal by Malmesbury Abbey Parochial Church Council (PCC) against the decision of North Wilts District Council not to allow the Millennium Cross on the west wall of the Abbey to remain as a permanent feature has been upheld. The news was announced to the congregation in the Abbey on Sunday August 11th 2002 and was greeted with spontaneous applause.

The cross which is made of oak and back lit at night was attached to the west wall of the Abbey during 2000. It was put there to demonstrate that the Christian message is still alive today, and that the Abbey, though partly ruined, is very much the centre of a thriving Christian community. The vicar, Revd. David Littlefair, described it as "a symbol of hope in a dark world".

Malmesbury Abbey west end on August 14th 2002

While there had been a few voices of opposition to the modern addition to an outstanding piece of medieval architecture, the cross has been praised by many people, not just members of the Abbey congregation, who had found the light of the cross at night a comforting sight. In addition, the architect responsible for the care of the Abbey had approved of it.

The Council have granted permission to retain it until 2006, provided that specified alterations are made, designed to give it a more permanent look. The PCC had already agreed that these alterations were necessary, and they will be carried out as soon as possible.

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