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Lost Walsingham window found

PUBLISHED: 13:26 29 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:29 07 July 2010

A 500-year-old window which was lost for hundreds of years after being bricked up, only to be lost again in the 1980s, has finally been restored - complete with a bent spoon to ward off evil spirits.

A 500-year-old window which was lost for hundreds of years after being bricked up, only to be lost again in the 1980s, has finally been restored - complete with a bent spoon to ward off evil spirits.

Home owner Colin King has had the large green oak window at Friday Cottage in Little Walsingham carefully restored by no less than three specialist craftsmen from Norfolk and Suffolk.

But only after learning about its chequered history and a finding “spiritual midden”, a hole made in the corner of the window's sill in which objects were placed to scare off witches.

The tale of the window, thought to be part of an old Franciscan friary building, stretches back to the early 1500s when it was built.

At some point its green oak mullioned was bricked up and forgotten.

It was rediscovered in 1988 after repair works by the then owner the late Rev John Hawkes, a discovery covered by the EDP, and taken away for preservation and the hole plastered up.

Mr King bought the house nearly four years ago and whilst undertaking repairs rediscovered the window, this time without the wooden mullions which have since been lost or forgotten.

“We found the article and that inspired us to try and get permission to rebuild it,” said Mr King, a children's book illustrator.

“It has been quite a journey to get it restored and it has become a piece of historical reconstruction.

“It has been quite an eye opener because no one does that sort of work anymore. Technology has changed dramatically since then.”

He had to find out what the window originally looked like, which included delving through EDP archives, and than had to get listed building consent.

And then he had to find the workmen who could carry out the work - including carpentry by Alan bacon from Great Walsingham, leaded lights by John Messum from Tendring in Essex, green oak timber from Bakers Timber, at Sculthorpe, and woodwork by Maurice Reeder from Horningtoft.

He said it wasn't built as a house and was probably a pilgrim's rest house, he said.

As a final touch, to keep the tradition of the midden, he placed a bent spoon in the hole, now covered up by the new window frame.

It was thought witches were scared by broken things.

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