Cigar case sold for 'Doctor Who' church renovation

Cigar case The Victorian cigar case was a gift to a railman in charge of transporting glass and iron to build the Crystal Palace in London

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A Victorian cigar case has been auctioned to raise funds to renovate a Grade I listed church.

The medieval St Bridget's Church in Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, recently featured in Dr Who episode Amy's Choice.

It is hoped the silver cheroot case, donated by former villagers, raised £2,280 towards the £60,000 renovation.

It was a gift to a rail manager who helped transport glass to build the Crystal Palace in London in 1851.

Sarah Steer, of the Friends of St Bridget's, Skenfrith said: "We're looking forward to the sale."

Auction house Bonhams in London has agreed charity rates so the sellers will pay 5% commission instead of the usual 20%.

Doctor Who in Skenfrith The Doctor Who episode Amy's Choice was filmed in Skenfrith

The silver case is decorated with an engraving of the Great Exhibition Hall of 1851 on one side.

The money raised by the sale will be used to improve previous cement-based repair which has caused water to come into the building.

Repair is also needed for the guttering and soakaways of the church, whose founding document dates back to 1207.

Generous gesture

Sarah Steer, secretary of the Friends of St Bridget's Church, Skenfrith, said the cigar case was given to them by former residents of the village who were upset by the state of the church and wanted to help raise money for repairs.

"It was given to a freight manager of the London and North West rail company and he was responsible for moving 1.5m square feet of glass and many thousands pounds of ironwork from the Midlands to Hyde Park for the construction of Crystal Palace.

"It's very pretty, it's oblong and it opens at the top and it's embossed with lots of scrolls

"It's got a picture of the Crystal Palace on the front and on the back there's an inscription to Mr T.C. Mills, who was the freight manager.

Great Exhibition Hall The Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition in 1851, and attracted millions of visitors

"I believe there's quite a lot of interest from the United States about it. It's was such a generous gesture that we're looking forward to the sale."

Ms Steer added that the total cost of the renovation is £350,000 but they had received funds from the lottery and Welsh heritage organisation Cadw, the Friend's of St Bridget's Church had a final £60,000 to raise

"We've got to find £60,000 but Skenfrith has 20 houses," she added.

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