Quick-thinking volunteers protect St Lawrence's, Broughton, following lead theft

05 Nov 2012

Quick-thinking volunteers stepped in to save St Lawrence's Church in Broughton from the elements this weekend, following the theft of lead from the roof.

Local builder Richard Neale and his father John, a retired builder who is keyholder for the church, managed to fix an emergency tarpaulin in place to protect the interior of the church from the elements, and a team of eight volunteers visited on Sunday, 4th November, to ensure that any damage was swiftly cleaned up. It is thought that the lead was stolen from the church between midnight on Wednesday, October 31st and midnight on Saturday, 3rd November.

The alarm was raised after Richard Neale spotted a gap in the roof of the chancel, from which the lead had been stolen. The Grade I listed church in Broughton village, Milton Keynes, is noted for its series stunning wallpaintings – including one of St George slaying a fire-breathing dragon – which are amongst the finest medieval treasures in the area.

Peter Aiers, South East Director of the Churches Conservation Trust, said:

“The theft of lead from church roofs is becoming all too common in our region, and can cost many thousands of pounds to replace. However, leaving the roof open to the November weather could have caused unthinkable damage, potentially affecting the delicate medieval wall paintings within this Grade I listed church, which are of national importance.

“The quick action of John and Richard Neale and the other volunteers at St Lawrence’s over the weekend has helped to save this beautiful place for the future, and whilst the damage will still cost a great deal to put right, it could have been much worse.”