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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 09:41 GMT
Stolen plaques returned to church
The brass plaque
The plaques depicted some of Sir Robert Baynard's 18 children
Valuable brass plaques stolen from a Wiltshire church two years ago have been mysteriously returned.

Thieves chiselled the 500-year-old plaques commemorating a respected local man, Sir Robert Baynard, from the floor of St Cyriac's Church in Lacock.

They have now been returned to the church, hidden under two prayer mats next to Sir Robert's memorial.

The Reverend Sally Wheeler said: "They just turned up. Maybe it just did not sit easy on the people who took them."

The plaques were part of a series set around the church memorial of Sir Robert, a master of Lackham College in the 15th Century. The missing sections depicted six of his 18 children.

They will now be reset by the church.

The spot where a plaque was prised from the floor
Thieves chiselled the 500-year-old plaques from the floor
"They are priceless. We had no idea who could have taken them and thought they would one day turn up on the market, when somebody might recognise them," said Mrs Wheeler.

"Somebody has come back into the church and slipped them under two hassocks. They also made the effort of putting them back near the memorial.

"It is very special to have them back."

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