Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Vandals attack St John's mediaeval church in Coventry
St John's Church
The East Window is one of the finest features of the church

Vandals have smashed a priceless mediaeval stained glass window at the Parish Church of St John the Baptist.

Located in the mediaeval Spon Street area of Coventry City Centre, the church sits alongside numerous bars and restaurants.

Father Paul Such thinks this "may be a contributing factor" to suffering damage, saying: "It's probably a mixture of alcohol and rowdy-ism."

The latest damage is costing the cash-strapped church £5,000 to repair.

Damaging blow
St John's Church
The church has had to delay some repair work because of costs

Talking to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, Father Such said: "We've got scaffolding inside the church and outside the church against the East Window.

"Vandals, we think, have kicked a football against it because the impact area has pushed in all the lead that holds the pieces of stained glass together.

"It's about £5,000 worth of damage, just for one football kick."

The church has been a Coventry landmark for centuries and was first mentioned in a document dated May 1344 in which King Edward II's widow granted the land specifically for building a chapel in honour of St John the Baptist.

Window on history

Its windows have seen various changes over the years; partly covered when the floor was raised in response to flooding and suffering damage in the Coventry Blitz.

During the air-raid on the 14 November 1940, the glass of the East Window was blown out and then, five months later, in the 8-9 April 1941 raid, the West Window was set on fire and the church lost all of its windows with the exception of three.

St John's Church
The list of works needed includes a new roof and stonework repairs

Since then a number of large-scale restoration projects have been carried out and conservation continues today. The current restoration effort has been hampered by vandalism, as Father Such Explains: "We do get odd spates of vandalism. Two Christmases ago somebody broke in through one of the stained glass windows and that cost us about £10,000 to sort out.

"A couple of weeks ago we had somebody attack the church hall door, for no reason, it wasn't a break in they just literally smashed the windows for some stupid idea in their head."

The church is currently trying to raise more funds for major ongoing restoration works.


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