St Giles Church, Coberley

The attempted theft of the unknown girl

A brief history of the church

The Church of England parish church of Saint Giles had Norman features until the architect John Middleton rebuilt it in 1869-72.

Middleton retained the Decorated Gothic south chapel, built in 1340 as a chantry to Saint Mary. He retained also the Perpendicular Gothic bell tower.

It is unique in that the 14th century parish church of St Giles has the only “Heart” burial recorded in the Cotswolds. It was in 1294 that Sir Giles De Berkeley died and his heart was buried here. A memorial recording this was erected and can be seen to the right of the Altar. It is also unusual that Sir Giles’s horse, Lombard, is buried in the churchyard also.

Our task

It is actually rather sad that we had to be called in to carry out repairs and securing to this quite small effigy of a small girl, probably a daughter of the Berkeleys that lies next to the main Berkeley tomb.

An attempt had been made on the effigy to steal it. Thieves had quite boldly wandered into the open church with tools for the job and attempted to lift the monument. In doing so, the effigy had been uprooted and the stone edges have been damaged where a crowbar had been used on it. Luckily, I think they probably gave up when they attempted to handle to deceptively heavy girl and looked back down the hundred meter walk back to the car park!

When the church wardens and the architect found her, It was decided for the time being to lock her away until she could be securely displayed once more.

Below the girl lays in the vestry.

Here she is waiting to be refixed next to the plinth where she was rudely disturbed!


It was decided by David Newton of DNA that she had to be reset with a hidden system to prevent her from being prised up in the future, the fixings however had to be reversible and the use of resin was not an option on such a monument. I would show a picture of the fixings but… you might be the thief!

James talks through the drilling process with his patient.


Lisa makes good the damage that was caused using a lime putty mortar.


And finally, Shes back as she should be, What a shame that she has to be thief proof! but.. She is.



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