The HHCT is absolutely delighted to learn that rare religious artefacts and antiquities taken from churches in Herefordshire have been recovered. St Cuthbert’s, Holme Lacy, has taken back its misericords and the Saxon stonework at St David’s, Much Dewchurch, has also been returned. Perhaps most importantly, an 800-year-old carved figure of a medieval knight, wrenched from St Michael’s Church, Castle Frome, has come home. And the stone effigy of a 13th century bishop of Hereford, John de Breton, which originally marked the spot where the bishop’s heart was interred has been recovered for Dore Abbey.
It is remarkable that these monuments and artefacts were not stolen to order and have not already left the UK. Whilst ownership reverts to the rightful owner in Britain, this is not always the case overseas where a collector who may have bought in good faith can take title. We must be hugely grateful to the Police Force for its sterling efforts to bring these important works back and acknowledge how important they are to local communities, our ecclesiastical heritage and our social history.