A priceless brass that dates from the 16th century is about to be returned to its rightful owners after languishing in a Fenland church for around 200 years.
On Thursday (22) the brass of Richard Quadryng, an esquire of a notable Lincolnshire family who died in 1511, will be handed back to the parish of Lenton from where it was purloined in the early 19th century.
Richard Quadryng’s life and passing was celebrated by a brass effigy and plate, which were fixed to the walls of Lenton church when he died in 1511.
The artefacts would probably have remained there but for the curious actions of a cleric who had different ideas.
The Rev William Hardwicke, Vicar of Lenton (1824-1835) was also Rector of Outwell (1803-1838) and for reasons which are uncertain, decided to take the brass to Outwell where it eventually appeared fixed to the north wall.
It remained there until the church was re-decorated in 2015.
The Rev Paul Skillings, parish priest for Outwell and Upwell, said: “The motives behind the removal are lost in time.
“It may have been to keep an eye on an asset which was a popular target for theft at the time – it may have been for more personal acquisitive reasons – we will never know. The vicar met an untimely death when he was found drowned in what is now Welle Creek, reputably having slipped off a footbridge.
“After 190-plus years it was felt that it was time to return the brass to its rightful home and after a lot of the inevitable red tape this is now possible.
“A wrong has been put right and Richard’s remains and his brass effigy can now be re-united. I am happy to have partly instrumental in this reunion. David Millichamp from Lenton and David Mann from Outwell, along with the support of the church councils of both parishes, can now be happy that this historical anomaly has been properly put to rest.”
For those interested, a little more information on this unusual series of events can be found at: www.mbs-brasses.co.uk/Bulletin_126_(June_2014)_L.pdf