Mystery of Cringleford church memorial stones

A Cringleford vicar has launched an appeal for information after builders found two antique memorial stones hidden under the floor of her church.

Workers ripping up the carpet at St Peter's Anglican Church were expecting to find a tattered old floor, but were amazed when they found the 17th and 18th century relics.

Now, the Rev Heather Butcher is calling on local people to help them piece together more information about the individuals recognised by the memorials.

The first plaque commemorates the families of John Pykarell Gent and his younger brother Robert Pykarell Gent, who died in 1707 and 1677 respectively.

The second stone recognises John Bates Esq, who died in 1769 aged 58.

They are thought to have been important people in the eighteenth century community as to be buried inside the church would have been a high honour.

The Gent memorial has a knight's helmet and swan carved into it along with what is believed to be 13 wheatsheafs.

Most Read

The Bates memorial is carved with a hart [stag] shot through with an arrow, three upturned hands and what looks like holly.

Rev Butcher said: 'The memorials are not thought to be of particular note but they are very fine and, what was exciting for us, was that they were covered by an old carpet and had not been seen in living memory.

'We would be very interested if anyone with expertise in this area could tell us more about them.'

A spokesman for the Church of England confirmed that the memorials would have been local notables. 'These are a nice discovery. Memorials in churches tend to be local gentry, people who were important in the community or people in the church.

'Those on the floor tend to mean that they have been buried inside the church.'

There was a further upside of the discovery as the church was planning to replace their carpets with wood flooring, but will now polish the memorials and use the stone flooring. 'We have saved ourselves a few hundred pounds by not having a wooden floor, so its good news for us,' added Rev Butcher.

Have you made an amazing discovery? Call reporter Ben Woods on 01603 772439 or email