Sunlight streams through restored window

A restored east window in a north Norfolk church includes a painting of an Anglo-Saxon sword pommel.

Glazier Neil Forkes finished the restoration at St Andrew, Wickmere, near Aylsham, in late October – in time for Remembrance Sunday on November 8 but because of the Covid-19 rules, the service had to be held outside.

The project, which involved restoration of stone tracery, cost more than £8,500.

Churchwarden Lesley Ash said that the collapsing stone tracery had compressed the plain glass window to such an extent that it was bowing. It was decided to remove the glass before it was forced out either by wind or weather.

“We were able to remove the windows intact without any damage to the glass. We’re extremely grateful for the various grants received towards the cost. We’re all thrilled,” she added.

The Norfolk Churches Trust awarded £2,500 – and the same amount was given by the Round Tower Churches Society.

The first phase involved repairing the tracery by Keith and Jeffrey Atthowe, of Norwich-based G F A Stonemasonry. The glass – mostly plain probably late Victorian  – was taken to the workshop on the Scottow Enterprise Park, Coltishall, for re-leading by stained glass specialist Neil Forkes. His previous commissions have included restoring the east window at St Peter’s, Brunstead, near Stalham, in 2013.

He has been asked to include a painting of an Anglo-Saxon sword pommel in the new window, which was found by a metal detectorist on Tony and Phillida Hurn’s nearby farm.

The sword pommel, which the British Museum would like to acquire, was declared treasure at a Coroner’s Inquest in early 2018. It is thought to be worth in excess of £20,000.

Mrs Hurn, who will share the eventual proceeds with the finder, has given a substantial donation to the church because of her family connection with successive Earls of Orford, who were benefactors.

Photograph by Lesley Ash, taken on November 5, 2020