Peterborough church windows 'smashed by footballs'

St John the Baptist Image copyright CANON IAN BLACK
Image caption The windows will have to be remade at a cost of thousands, Canon Black said

A vicar is considering a crowdfunding campaign to protect 140-year-old stained glass windows from being damaged by youths playing football.

The east end window of St John the Baptist Church in Peterborough has been repeatedly damaged in Cathedral Square in the city centre.

Repairing three broken panels and adding protective grilles would cost about £4,000, a church spokesman said.

Canon Ian Black said: "It's not like you can simply put it back together."

Image copyright CANON IAN BLACK
Image caption The windows of the city centre church are vulnerable to antisocial activity

The "irreplaceable" window is one of three on the church designed and made by the renowned stained glass firm Heaton, Butler and Bayne, and it was installed in the 1880s.

It depicts the Apostles on the day of Pentecost and bears an angel in each corner - the company's identifying sign.

The Grade I listed church, which dates from the early 1400s, is just outside the Queensgate shopping centre and is a short walk from Peterborough Cathedral.

"All of the windows are unique," said Canon Black.

"Each time one is smashed it has to be completely remade, and although we have the skills, we end up with a heavily-restored window.

"We're finding we've no longer got an original 1880s window but a reproduction one."

He said it would cost £30,000 to install metal grilles over the all of the church's windows.

Image copyright Google
Image caption St John the Baptist Church is at the heart of the city centre's shopping district, with the spires of Peterborough Cathedral visible in the background

He said the suspects were "unruly at times" and were not kicking balls on the ground, but "high and with abandon".

A Cambridgeshire Police spokeswoman confirmed they were investigating "reports of anti-social behaviour".

"Criminal damage was caused to a window of the church," she said.

"We are aware of issues of antisocial behaviour in the area and are working with partners, the council and the church to address these."

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