Wakefield Diocese says ‘little hope’ of finding missing holy carvings

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Holy carvings may have been lost forever after they went missing from a derelict church.

Wakefield Diocese has admitted it has little hope of tracing unique misericords which disappeared from Stanley St Peter’s Church in March 2012.

The carvings are part of the only set of its kind in the world and depict the 16 stages of creation.

They are thought to be worth least £2,000 each.

Last November, Bishop of Pontefract Tony Robinson admitted that a mistake was made when a contractor was allowed to take some items from the church, which is set for demolition.

The diocese had traced seven of the misericords, including one which turned up on E-bay and four bought from an antique dealer by a woman in London.

The ownership of two others was in dispute after they were entered into auction at Christies in London.

Wakefield Diocese said in a statement: “We have now recovered the two misericords from the London auction house, though we hold little hope of recovering any further missing misericords.

“ And we are now actively seeking a local archive or museum willing to house them in some sort of collection.”

Frustrated church campaigners have called on the diocese to do more to recover the carvings.

Paul Dainton, 69, of Altofts Logde Drive, said: “These are irreplaceable works of art.

“All we are asking for is an update on what is happening and what is being done to recover the misericords.”

Police carried out an investigation into an attempted burglary after the misericords went missing.

No charges were ever brought, and police later confirmed a number of items had been taken under an agreement between the church and a contractor.

The misericords were carved by HP Jackson in the 1920s.

They feature carved wooden beasts, including a jackass, simian imps, pigs, sheep and other creatures.