Shropshire Star

Vandals smash stained glass window during Shrewsbury church service

Church worshippers say they could have been hurt after vandals smashed stunning stained glass windows while people were observing a service inside.

Church warden Joanna Hepper with the damaged windows at St Chad's Church

The attack happened at St Chad's in Shrewsbury, one of the county's main churches for large events, during a service. The vandals caused around £8,000 of damage, and church warden Joanna Hepper said someone could have been badly hurt in the "mindless" attack.

Worshippers were attending an evensong service when the incident happened.

Joanna said: "We have recently been targeted by vandals who have broken our stained glass windows on the Quarry side of the church, the most recent breakage happening on Sunday, May 15, at approximately 6.15pm whilst a service was taking place. This was extremely upsetting for the congregation and could have caused injury.

Vandals smashed stained glass windows at St Chad's Church in Shrewsbury

"It sounded like a light bulb, but I realised it was one of the windows. I ran outside and saw a group of about 10 youths. They were just laughing. They could have hurt somebody. It's dangerous. The glass could have gone into the back of someone's neck."

She added: "Each window costs approximately £3,000 to repair and a lot of work by a glazier as he has to source specific glass, as we are a Grade I-listed building."

Joanna got in touch with the Shropshire Star in the hope of "drawing attention to the mindless vandalism and expense".

She said: "Obviously we are insured, but we still have to pay an excess amount to the insurance company, money which we could use to support other causes in the church.

"As a Grade I building we are obliged to repair like-for-like, which is an expense we could well do without as we, like everyone, are struggling to pay our bills."

Vandals smashed stained glass windows at St Chad's Church in Shrewsbury

The current church building was built in 1792 and, with its distinctive round shape and high tower, it is a well-known landmark in the town. It faces the Quarry, which slopes down to the River Severn.

Charles Darwin, the world-renowned naturalist and Shrewsbury's most famous son, was baptised in St Chad's Church in 1809, and as a young boy attended the church with his mother Susannah.

Scottish architect George Steuart was commissioned to build the church, and work was supervised by John Simpson, who later worked on several projects with Thomas Telford, including the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Llangollen.

Still present in the now-disused churchyard is the headstone prop of Ebenezer Scrooge, played by George C. Scott, that was used in the 1984 film A Christmas Carol for the scene where Scrooge finds his own grave.

In 2010, the church became a member of the Greater Churches Group.

West Mercia Police has been contacted for a comment regarding the vandalism.