Heckington church's forgotten medieval glass to be returned

Stained glass, Heckington
Image caption Fragments of a stained glass window are thought to date from the 14th Century

Rare fragments of a medieval stained glass window, which had been forgotten about for 70 years, are to be returned to the church they were removed from.

The pieces, dating to the 14th Century, were removed from the Lincolnshire parish church, considered to be one of the finest in England, in 1946.

Heckington's St Andrews Church now needs to raise thousands of pounds to install the pieces in a new window.

Only 5% of all medieval stained glass survives today, according to experts.

The fragments are believed to be about 700 years old, dating back to when the church was founded by Richard de Potesgrave, a chaplain to Kings Edward II and Edward III.

Image caption St Andrews Church, Heckington, is considered one of the finest parish churches in the country by architectural historians

Keith Barley discovered the fragments at his glass studio in York, where they had been stored 70 years ago after the west window of St Andrew's Church was replaced.

"This is a chronicle of the destruction of the period of the Reformation and Puritanism subsequently," he said.

"That makes these pieces such a remarkable survival."

Lesley Pinchbeck, from the church, said returning the fragments to the church will let visitors know "what a beautiful monument there is here".

But the project could cost thousands of pounds, she added.

Image caption Medieval stained glass is very rare

Dr Jim Cheshire, art history lecturer at the University of Lincoln, said medieval fragments were very rare.

"We probably have about 5% of the stained glass we had in the Middle Ages," he said.

"But, to get fragments we know originally came from a parish church is really very valuable."

Image caption The pieces are set to be restored into a church window

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