Historic Exeter Church Defaced with Protest Graffiti: Community Awaits Cleanup

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St Mary Steps Church, an iconic landmark in Exeter, is grappling with an unexpected challenge after vandals defaced its ancient stone wall with a spray of paint. The cryptic message, ‘Stop Killing,’ now stretches prominently across the exterior red sandstone wall, raising concerns among the congregation and local community.

The graffiti, executed in large white capital letters, materialized sometime during the evening of November 26. The church, with roots dating back to 1150, stands as one of Exeter’s most cherished historic sites. The incident has sparked a cleanup dilemma for the parishioners and preservationists responsible for maintaining the sacred structure.

The Rector of St Mary Steps expressed a mix of sadness and bewilderment over the act of vandalism. “I’ve no idea who is responsible… I’m not angry; it’s just sad to see a building that is part of the historic fabric of Exeter damaged,” remarked the clergyman. The incident has been reported to the police, though as of now, no arrests have been made.

The precise cost of repairing the damage is yet to be determined, and the church is in the process of assessing the full extent of the financial implications. Fortunately, the church is insured, and the restoration bill is anticipated to be covered under their policy. The rector assured the community that steps are being taken to address the defacement promptly.

“We are planning to have it removed and have a specialist consultant looking at how best to have it removed,” stated the rector. However, uncertainty looms over whether the removal process will leave any lasting stain or irreversible harm to the ancient stone facade.

St Mary Steps, located at the base of Stepcote Hill, stands as one of Exeter’s ancient parish churches, boasting a rich history. Rebuilt in the 15th century, the church comprises a main building and a tower constructed from red Heavitree sandstone. Its most renowned feature, the ‘Matthew the Miller’ clock, crafted in 1619-21 by Matthew Hoppin, adds to the historical significance of the site. The clock, animated with figures representing Henry VIII and two guards, strikes a bell on the quarter-hour while Henry nods in the center of the action.

While the church community awaits the cleanup and restoration process, speculation surrounds the motivation behind the graffiti. The rector refrained from commenting on the nature of the message, widely believed to be connected to the Middle East conflict. The incident has ignited conversations within the community about the role of historical landmarks in modern-day expressions of dissent and protest.

Devon and Cornwall Police are actively investigating the criminal damage to St Mary Steps Church. A spokesperson for the police stated, “Police are investigating reports of criminal damage to the front of St Mary Steps Church on West Street. It was reported that between 9 pm on November 26 and 9 am on November 27, graffiti has been sprayed to the front of the building.”

The community, united in its resolve to restore the church to its former glory, awaits further updates on the investigation and hopes for a swift and successful cleanup. St Mary Steps Church, a testament to Exeter’s enduring history, stands resilient amidst the challenges posed by this act of vandalism.

Danielle Trigg
Danielle Trigghttps://newswriteups.com/
Journalist Danielle is a skilled journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With her wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge, Danielle dives into the stories that matter to local communities. Her meticulous research and engaging writing style captivate readers, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic business landscape. Danielle's commitment to delivering accurate and thought-provoking news sets her apart, making her an invaluable asset to the News Write Ups team. danielle@newswriteups.com

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