Haslingfield church statue vandalism 'a hate crime'

Monument in Haslingfield church Image copyright Keith Edkins/Norman Hammond
Image caption The monument was set up by William Wendy (bottom right) to commemorate his father Thomas Wendy (top right) - William's head is now missing

Vandals who chopped off the head of a statue in a church, carried out a "hate crime and a crime against our heritage", an archaeologist has said.

The attack on the 17th Century Thomas Wendy memorial at All Saints in Haslingfield, was reported on Sunday.

The head of his son Sir William Wendy, who commissioned the monument, had been chopped off and stolen.

Archaeologist Prof Norman Hammond, who photographed the damage said it was a "hate crime directed at the church".

It is believed the damage took place some time between 10 and 24 April, as reported in the Cambridge News.

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A church collection box was also forced open, but was empty, Prof Hammond, a senior fellow at Cambridge University's McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, told the BBC.

Image caption It is not known what has become of William Wendy's head
Image copyright Keith Edkins/Geograph
Image caption The inscription on the monument set up by William Wendy

The vandalism was not only "an attack on a memorial to the dead" but also an attack on what he described as an incredibly important monument believed to have been created by William Wright, a renowned Jacobean tomb maker from Charing Cross in London.

It was commissioned in 1619 to commemorate Thomas Wendy's death in 1612.

The Wendys were a prominent Cambridgeshire family and included Thomas Wendy's uncle, Dr Thomas Wendy who was a physician to Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth I.

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