A village church has been forced to close its doors outside of regular services following the theft of a ‘very ornately carved’ Bishop’s chair.
The pre-Victorian chair, last used by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Rt Rev Martin Seeley, shortly after his enthronement in 2015, was discovered missing from the chancel at All Saints’ Church, Wickhambrook, on December 14.
Its monetary value is unknown but it is unique, belonging to a set of three similar but non-identical chairs.
“It’s just a great sadness for the congregation and all who value our spiritual heritage that people take stuff,” said the Rev Brin Singleton.
“Our spiritual heritage, unfortunately, is something some people value and some people covet,” he added.
Previously All Saints remained open during daylight hours but since the theft it has only opened for services, which, as one of seven churches in the Bansfield Benefice, is once monthly.
“We like to keep our churches open and accessible to people but, unfortunately, from time-to-time this gets abused and people take stuff, and that’s what’s happened,” said Mr Singleton.
“We had as many people visiting us in the week as would come on Sunday worship and it’s sad at this time we have to lock our doors.”
Police are appealing for any antique dealers who become aware of anyone trying to sell the chair to call 101 quoting crime reference 71760/16.