PARISHONERS of an ancient church are counting the cost after vandals destroyed a valuable stained glass window in a “senseless”.

The Grade II listed St Illtyd’s Church in Mamhilad, Monmouthshire, which dates back to the 11th century, was targeted sometime between Christmas Eve and Sunday, January 6.

Parishioners think the vandals were trying to get into the church, with damage found to a rear entrance as well as the stained glass window.

Luckily, they weren’t able to get inside the church, but Stuart Pritchard, who discovered the damage last Sunday, said the parish would struggle to fund repair works.

“My wife is a church warden at St Illtyd’s, and I help look after the infrastructure,” explained Mr Pritchard.

The window before the damage

“We went up on Sunday just after midday to clear the dressings left over from Christmas.

“When we went inside I noticed it was colder than usual in the church.

“There was a hole in the stained glass window. The grates in front of the window has been bent in half and pulled off.

“Obviously, whoever did this then smashed the bottom half of the window, presumably to gain access.

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“I had another look around the church and someone tried to gain access through a small door on an outbuilding attached to the church. Luckily they didn’t manage it. The whole thing seems senseless to me.”

The difficulty in repairing the window lies in its fragility, explained Mr Pritchard.

Fixing the glasswork could cost the church thousands.

St Illtyd's Church (Picture: @Jaggery)

“Most of the time you have to remove the whole window to repair it. It’s a big job.

“If we need to do that, it will cost between £4,500 and £5,000.

“The other option is that it could be repaired on site. We’re looking into that. That option would be a lot less, possibly just around £600.

“But that’s still a lot of money for the parish. It’s going to be a struggle.”

Gwent Police confirmed they were investigating, and added nothing was taken from the church.

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A spokesman said: “Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or direct message Gwent Police on Facebook or Twitter, quoting log number 1900010359.

“Alternatively, report anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

The church are appealing for help to fund the repair. Two local pubs, the Star and the Horse Shoe are pitching in by selling church calendars.

The two Mamhilad pubs are also accepting donations from members of the public.

To make a donation directly to the church, please email Mr Pritchard directly at .