We are saddened to report the damage and theft of panels from a 15th-century oak screen at Holy Trinity Church, Torbryan in deepest Devon countryside.
CCT is appealing to the public to help find and recover the panels. The oak screen with panels is one of the most important examples of its kind in the country. Its mid-15th-century painted panels represent a variety of saints and church dignitaries. The artistry is of a very high status, suggesting that the artist was specially commissioned to produce the panels for the screen. Even though some of the panels have been missing for many years the Torbryan screen represents an exceptionally complete survival from the late medieval period that escaped the worst excesses of the iconoclasts who took down most of the screens in the country during the reformation, especially those that included representations of saints. The loss of two of the panels of St Victor of Marseilles and St Margaret of Antioch and the damage to the third of a female saint is a great blow to the church.
Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of the Churches Conservation Trust says ‘I was shocked to learn of the theft of these panels and the damage done to this significant art work. Holy Trinity is a beautiful public building much admired around the country and beyond, this crime will deprive all visitors and researchers of an important part of Devon heritage and is essentially a theft of public property. We hope that by publicising the loss we might be able to recover the panels.’
The theft has been reported to the police. If you have any information to help the search, please contact the CCT.
Campaign to raise awareness and funds in support of the religious heritage objects in the care of the CCT History for the Future: Protecting England’s Treasures