Stone statue of knight stolen from Ledbury church

Knight statue The statue is dedicated to a knight who died fighting in the Crusades

A small stone statue of a knight, believed to be a war memorial to a man who died in the Crusades, has been stolen from a church near Ledbury.

Police said thieves used a hammer and chisel to cut it from a window frame at St Michael's Church in Castle Frome.

Church warden Louise Manning said: "To most people this statue is of no value at all, but for a collector of medieval art it has huge value.

"This isn't an opportunist job, because they had the right tools."

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People don't normally go about with a chisel in their bag ready to chip at a piece of stone and take it home with them”

End Quote Anni Holden Diocese of Hereford

She added: "At the end of the day it is an object, a church is about people and community, but it is sad that someone can come into our building and desecrate it in this way."

'Stolen to order'

The carving, depicting a knight holding a heart, is about 9in (22cms) high and 6 in (15cms) wide.

Church historians believe it was dedicated to a knight who died in the 11th or 12th Century fighting in the Crusades and may have been a member of the de Lacy family who built the church.

Police said the statue was taken between Sunday morning and Wednesday night.

Anni Holden from the Diocese of Hereford said: "We encourage our churches to be open so that people can wander in and have a look around, so to have someone go in and steal things is unfair.

"People don't normally go about with a chisel in their bag ready to chip at a piece of stone and take it home with them, so there is a concern that these things are being stolen to order."

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