Lead thieves strike Breckland church twice in 24 hours

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Thieves have taken lead from the aisle roof of an 11th century church in west Norfolk.

St Mary’s Church, Beechamwell, near Swaffham, was the target of thieves twice in 24 hours, it appears. The theft of large areas of lead was discovered on Wednesday, May 29 – and it is likely that they may have removed lead the previous night as well.

St Mary’s Church, Beechamwell.

St Mary’s Church, Beechamwell, has been described as Anglo-Saxon partly because of the evidence of the early belfry openings near the top of the circular part.

However, the leading specialist architect, the late Stephen Hart, suggests that despite the formidable weight of this virtually unanimous opinion, there are convincing grounds for dating the church and tower as post-Conquest.

It may be of the same period as the round Saxo-Norman church towers at Herringfleet and Haddiscoe. The term “Saxo-Norman” is used here as meaning architecture of Anglo-Saxon workmanship or style executed after the Conquest.

Anyone with any information, which may help detectives find the thieves, is asked to contact Norfolk police.