Missing Victorian Era Parish Window Found at Auction

An unexpected auction purchase by Colin Mantripp, finally resolves the 80 year mystery of what happened to a missing church stained glass window.

The window went missing from St. Mary’s Church in Shefford, South Yorkshire during World War II.  Purchasing what he thought was a box of fragmented stained glass, Mantripp initially planned to use the fragments to create a handcrafted door.

One of the window panes from the missing stained glass window at St. Mary’s Parish. Source: Good News Network

However, upon his arrival at Roseberry’s Auction in London to pick it up, he discovered instead of shattered fragments it was an eight foot by three foot window weighing more than 600 pounds.

Requiring six people to lift, Colin said, “I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I thought, this is an incredible amount of glass; I was delighted.”

“For £300 I thought I bagged a bargain—and I didn’t even know about its history. They’re so beautifully done which is normal from that era when there was such an incredible attention to detail.”

Spending a few months restoring and cleaning the window, Colin noticed the words “St Mary’s” inscribed in the glass. Curious, upon further investigation he learned the origins of the window dated to the 1850s Victorian era.

When Colin did an online search to learn more about the parish, he discovered that some of its windows had gone missing 80 years ago. The windows at the parish had been removed for fear of damage from Nazi bombers.  Hidden underground, the location of the windows had become an unsolved mystery.

Despite rumors of the windows emerging occasionally, not until Colin contacted the church’s vicar and would the missing window’s whereabout be known.  Offering to return the window, the parish’s vicar, Rev. Claire Dawson, declined stating the church had already replaced the window. 

One of the window panes from the missing stained glass window at St. Mary’s Parish. Source: Good News Network

Dawson said, “The windows are an important part of the church’s history which dates back to 1830 but, as nice as it would be to see them, so much has changed for the church for the better and it wouldn’t be practical to have them back.

In 2009 the original stained glass window had been replaced with a new £80,000 modern design.

“We are so much more than we were in 1939,” she added. “We have a beautiful new window which was installed above the altar and is a celebration of the journey from the church’s beginning to the present day.”

Uncertain about the window’s future, Colin remarked, “I’m not sure what I’ll do with the glass now that I’ve cleaned it up but it’s great to have found a piece of history.”

Source: Good News Source