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St Esprit's Missing Sheep
29/05/19

St Esprit Church, Marton is said to be one of the oldest churches in Warwickshire, with earliest known references going back to between 1155 and 1160 and the likelihood of there being a wooden church on the site even earlier. Over the last century the church has undergone many changes and during recent works it was discovered that St Esprit is missing an important sheep.

The church as we know it now is the work of a substantial Victorian rebuilding project. In 1868 St Esprit was reported to be in a bad state of repair and was considerably demolished in 1870. The original lower stage of the tower with its 14th and 15th century extensions, together with the 13th century south arcade and doorway, were incorporated into the new building completed in 1871. The church was rebuilt in the Gothic Revival style, designed by architect, George Punshon of Leamington Spa.

A special feature of the west wall of the nave is regionally significant painted inscriptions on zinc metal panels. The church are currently in the process of having the zinc work, which adorns the walls of the church, resored and conserved. They found three loose plaques in the church tower that they have had restored. One of these plaques is being mounted into a new wooden frame by a villager so that it can be put back in the wall of the memorial chapel from where it was removed in around 1936.

At the top of the largest zinc plates there should be a plaque showing the Paschal Lamb. It was remmoved years ago and no one now knows where it is. The church are in the process of trying to find their lost lamb in the hope that it can be returned to its former and rightful position. 'The Lost Sheep' will be the centre of a Messy Church Stall at Marton Village Sports Day on Sunday 6th July and hopefully this might jog people's memories and prompt barn, garage and outhouse searches.

If you know of the whereabouts of the lost lamb, please contact Jenny Walsh - e: jennycooperwalsh@btinternet.com  t: 01926 632547

The restoration work at St Esprit is being carried out by Drakon Heritage & Conservation funded by a grant received from ChurchCare with financial support from the Pilgrim Trust and the Radcliffe Trust.

 

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