LETTER: '˜Deeply shocked' by vandalism
St Helen's church in Ore Place is one of the oldest buildings in Hastings.
The ruins date back to the 11th century; the foundations date back to 800 AD.
It was renovated three years ago by English Heritage, thanks to the National Lottery.
At the end of October, someone daubed a large green cross on one of the stone pillars at the entrance of the path leading to the graveyard and the church. This pointed to a message, also in bright green paint, on the side of the pillar. This was an appeal by some ‘brother Bertram’, a monk trapped in the church, asking for prayers for his soul to be released.
The writing was elaborate: it looked like a copy from an old parchment. Clearly, somebody had spent a lot of effort preparing this operation – which took place around Hallowe’en. It was probably meant as a ‘witty’ stunt.
At the time of writing, a team are trying to remove the graffiti from the stone. This is taking time, as the beautiful stonework might be damaged unless great care is taken. The cost of the operation will obviously be borne by the taxpayers.
The local residents are deeply shocked that their beautiful ancient church should have been damaged in this pathetic way.
They are now taking it in turns to keep an eye on the church premises, day and night. Who knows? If a similar event occurs, someone might be able to take photographs on a mobile phone; this would allow the authorities to take action.
I hope that whoever damaged the church pillar reads this letter, and understands that it would be better for all concerned if such an incident was not repeated.
M M Graves
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