Monday, 17 February 2014

Doctor Henry Smith D.D. and the 1791 church theft.

Within the burial register I have just transcribed for Bromley Saint Peter and Saint Paul is the Reverend Henry Smiths account of a major theft from the Parish Church.
"0n the night of  the 13th April this year,1791,the vestry-room door was broken open,and the chest of deal,in which the plate was kept,was robbed of the following articles:one large flagon with lid fixt;one quart chalice,one rich chased chalice and loose cover,with a straining spoon,one large paten and one small paten;the above were all gilt;the gold fringe from the pulpit and the Communion hangings;one large damask table cloth,and two damask napkins.
It appears, from every observation, that the perpetrators of this sacrilegious deed must have secreted themselves in the Church during the morning service,for there were not the least traces of violence upon the doors,wall or windows. They let themselves out of the Church by unscrewing the locks of the doors leading to the gallery at the East end,which must be done on the inside.
A bottle of Tent wine was taken out of the cupboard and drunk which makes me think there were more than one,and I indeed can hardly imagine one person to have courage sufficient to carry him through such a Diabolical Enterprise."
There appears to have been no one apprehended for the theft....unless anyone has a record of conviction away from the Bromley Area.
The transcript was published online this month at Kent Online Parish Clerks Kent Online Parish Clerks Bromley Parish page. All of the Bromley parish transcripts will eventually be available on a single page.