'It's frustrating' - Vandals damage medieval church's stained glass windows

Rev Matthew Jackson at the Besthorpe Church of All Saints, where the windows have been smashed.

Rev Matthew Jackson at the Besthorpe Church of All Saints, where the windows have been smashed - Credit: Denise Bradley

Vandals have damaged stained glass windows at a medieval church in south Norfolk following weeks of increasing attacks.

The incident happened at All Saints Church in Bunwell Road in Besthorpe, near Attleborough.

Several stained glass windows in the 14th century church were damaged at some point between Thursday, June 2, and Friday, June 17.

The smashed windows underneath the protected stained glass windows at the Besthorpe Church of All Sa

The smashed windows underneath the protected stained glass windows at the Besthorpe Church of All Saints - Credit: Denise Bradley

Reverend Matthew Jackson said: "It's frustrating for this to happen.

"I've been at All Saints Church for the past 12 years and it is the first time something like this has happened.

"Thankfully our 15th century stained glass windows weren't damaged as they are encased in protective glass.

"There aren't many from this period left in this condition, which makes them rare works of art."

One of the smashed windows at the Besthorpe Church of All Saints.

One of the smashed windows at the Besthorpe Church of All Saints - Credit: Denise Bradley

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All Saints Church has a number of examples of medieval stained glass.

The windows targeted are on the southern side of the church and depict St Michael and St George slaying a dragon with a spear, displaying patterns distinctive of Norwich glass painters of the 15th century.

A view of the stained glass windows from inside the church in Besthorpe

A view of the stained glass windows from inside the church in Besthorpe - Credit: All Saints Church Besthorpe

The stones thrown smashed through panels underneath, narrowly missing the priceless historical artwork.

The attack is an escalation of ongoing problems with vandalism that has plagued the historic church over several weeks, according to the Reverend.

Besthorpe Church of All Saints.

Besthorpe Church of All Saints - Credit: Denise Bradley

"We've had an ongoing problem with vandalism recently which has built up in recent weeks," Rev Jackson continued.

"We believe this latest attack happened on Thursday evening (June 18) but previously we have had minor vandalism with notice boards pulled down and littered cigarette butts.

"The church is quite isolated away from the road so it is easy for people to get round the back and keep out of sight.

"We've reported the issue to the police who have been driving past as much as they can but obviously it only takes a few seconds for someone to break some windows.

"Often when people start smashing windows it leads to more being damaged so we are concerned there could be more to follow."

Besthorpe Church of All Saints.

Besthorpe Church of All Saints - Credit: Denise Bradley

Police are appealing for witnesses who may have seen or heard suspicious activity in the area. 

Anyone with any information should contact PC Andrew London at Norfolk Constabulary on 101 quoting crime reference number 36/45983/22.