Vandalised church window irreparable, says secretary

Vandalised stained glass window at St. Johns Episcapal Church, Selkirk.

Vandalised stained glass window at St. Johns Episcapal Church, Selkirk.

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A Selkirk church has again been targeted by vandals, with another stained glass window being smashed.

The window in St John’s Episcopal Church, depicting a pastoral scene, was broken and its leading twisted between last Wednesday and Friday.

Another of the 19th-century church’s stained glass windows is currently having vandal damage repaired.

But church secretary David Longbotham says this time the damage is too severe to have repaired.

“This is the second time, unfortunately, in the last six to nine months that the church has been targeted by vandals and this time the window is ruined – it’s beyond repair and will have to be replaced,” he told The Wee Paper.

“It’s such a shame this is happening. All of these windows are in themselves works of art and they are very expensive to repair or replace.”

Mr Longbotham is worried that the church, in the town’s Bleachfield Road, seems to be becoming a bit of a regular target for vandals.

“Yes, it is a wee bit of a worry that it seems to be happening now with some frequency.”

Police are investigating this latest attack on St John’s, but Mr Longbotham is also appealing to the local surrounding community to keep their eyes open: “And if they notice anything suspicious happening around the church, then they should call the police.”

Mr Longbotham says those who caused the damage do not seem to have entered the church, as nothing has been touched or stolen from the interior.

As well as the previous damage caused to the other stained glass window, a noticeboard in the structure’s porch was also burned and scorched at about the same time.

St John’s Church was designed by architect J. M. Wardrop between 1867-9 and is B-listed. Photographs exist from the 1920s recording the interior and show there was once stencil work to the chancel and foliate wallpaper to the nave.

However, this was all painted over by the 1950s. The former rectory was sold by the church in 1973 and is now known as Hillcrest, in Shawpark Road.

Plans of a Episcopalian church in Selkirk can be seen at the Rowand Anderson collection of drawings at the University of Edinburgh Library and date from March 1867. They are not signed, but the writing and style of the plans are those of Wardrop and Reid.

Wardrop joined Thomas Brown in partnership in 1848-9, retiring around 1873-4, and this church, therefore, dates from the period of Brown and Wardrop, with later additions.

Today, St John’s has no rector, or any other paid clergy. Leadership of church life and mission is the responsibility of a ministry leadership team authorised by the bishop and comprising several lay people and one retired priest.

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