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New cash blow for historic Norwich church

PUBLISHED: 06:09 09 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:01 02 July 2010

Sarah Hall

A Norwich church forced to close its doors because one of its walls is collapsing is facing yet another challenge - it needs to raise more than £80,000 to restore a medieval stained glass window.

A church forced to close its doors because one of its walls is collapsing is facing yet another challenge - it needs to raise more than £80,000 to restore a medieval stained glass window.

The centuries-old St Stephen's Church closed for major structural repairs in September after a large crack appeared in its east wall.

The damage was caused by a nearby burst water main which had undermined the foundations and Anglian Water agreed to foot the bill for the repairs.

But, when the stained glass window in the Norwich church's east wall was removed to enable the repair work to be carried out, it became clear restoration work is needed, for which the church will have to raise £85,000.

Rev Madeline Light, priest-in-charge at St Stephen's Church, in Rampant Horse Street, said: “It's quite a significant window, with the glass brought from the continent in the 1600s. It also contains some fragments of old medieval Norwich glass.

“It was last restored 150 years ago and potentially it could start leaking, so we need to get the work done. In the meantime we hope to put in some clear glass when the Anglian Water works to underpin the wall are complete.”

Mrs Light said there was a possibility some of the glass could go on display at the stained glass museum in St Peter Hungate during the restoration process.

She said: “We have written off to some grant giving bodies, but we are hoping people who have an interest in the heritage of Norwich might like to contribute.

“The church is going to take responsibility for making sure the glass is restored, but it was a huge shock when we found out.”

The church's congregation is currently meeting in Chantry Hall, in Chantry Road, while the work, which has seen huge supports put up in nearby Malthouse Lane.

Archaeologists have been working in the church and have buried down to foundations believed to date from Norman times.

They also discovered a fully intact brick tomb with several lead coffins, which were recorded and left undisturbed, along with a number of skeletons which are believed to have been buried in the churchyard of an earlier church which the later church was built on top of.

Anyone who wants to make a donation can make cheques payable to St Stephens PCC and send them to St. Stephen's Church, Rampant Horse Street, Norwich, NR2 1QY.

People are also needed to give their time to help set up a fundraising group and anyone interested can email ststephensnorwich@googlemail.com

Is your organisation on a fundraising drive? Tell us about it by calling Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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