A Spire to Inspire / by Amanda Russell


I wanted to capture close-ups of the spire of St Mary of Charity and aerial shots of Faversham, which could mean only one thing, shooting from the top of the church. I contacted St Mary's and Catriona, the parish administrator very kindly agreed to take me up. 

The ascent began easily enough via a narrow, spiral staircase leading to the ringing chamber and we entered just as the soft, late afternoon light was filtering through the windows. We climbed up a further flight of wooden steps to the bell chamber itself and the eight bells of St Mary loomed above us. It was awe-inspiring to be up so close to them but this was also the most difficult part of the climb. No staircase this time, just a ladder and then a bit of clambering up and around the bell. I had to balance on the bell’s outer frame and be really careful not to make it sway and chime. I needed both hands to do this, which meant I had to leave my tripod and extra lenses on a nearby ledge. As I climbed up, the bell swayed quite a bit and for a moment I expected a deafening chime but thankfully it stayed silent and I managed to lift myself up to the final wooden ladder and out through a trap door on to the roof. There in front of me was an uninterrupted 360 degree view of Faversham, with a sunset on the way.

A church has stood on the site of St Mary of Charity since the seventh century, the present building dates back to the early reign of William the Conqueror and is Grade 1 listed, while the spire dates back to the 18th century.

Prints and greetings cards of images from the shoot are available to purchase. 20% of all profits will be donated to St Mary of Charity, who are raising money to carry out essential repairs and provide better access for people with mobility issues.