Mystery over holy carvings

w3361c615 Stanley St Peters Church for 'then and now' feature.
w3361c615 Stanley St Peters Church for 'then and now' feature.

COMMUNITY activists are calling for answers over the future of precious carvings removed from a church set for demolition.

A meeting was held this week over the oak carvings called misericords which were part of Stanley St Peter’s Church.

The 16 carvings, thought to date back to the 1920s, were removed from the church, which has stood in a state of disrepair for a decade, last year.

Fourteen have since been recovered following a police investigation, and the Wakefield Diocese said it was trying to get the other two back.

George Parfitt, founder of website Stanley History Online, and Paul Dainton, of action group Residents Against Toxic Scheme, are calling for the misericords to be put on display in the district.

Mr Parfitt said they met Bishop of Pontefract the Rt Rev Tony Robinson on Tuesday over the future of the carvings.

Mr Parfitt said: “We are trying to preserve these items to be displayed somewhere in the Wakefield district.”

Mr Dainton said: “They are unique. We believe they are a historic, artistic representation of the local area.

“They would be a huge draw for tourists if displayed somewhere like the Yorkshire Sculpture Park or in the Hepworth gallery.”

In March, police investigated a report of burglary from the church which resulted in some items being recovered.

Other items had been taken under an agreement between the church and a contractor.

Wakefield Diocese said in a statement: “We can confirm a police investigation recovered a number of items stolen from the St Peter’s Church, Stanley, and it is the intention of the Diocese of Wakefield to do our best to recover the outstanding two pieces before seeking a suitable home for them.”