Holy request for jewellery to save chapel windows

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Lichfield Cathedral invites women to donate jewellery for Lady Chapel.

Lichfield Cathedral has appealed to all women in the West Midlands for jewellery donations to help save its Lady Chapel Windows.

The renaissance glass windows were originally installed in the Flemish Abbey of Herkenrode and were brought to Lichfield in 1802. The glass has been described by the cathedral as ‘one of the most important treasures in the whole of Europe.’

In an attempt to obtain funding for urgent conservation and repair of the Lady Chapel windows, the cathedral has invited women from the area to come to Lichfield on September 11 and donate their gold, silver, precious and semi-precious stones, costume and damaged jewellery.

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Lesley Smith of Tutbury Castle will be representing Queen Elizabeth 1st for the day and, as part of the re-enactment, will receive the gifts while seated in state, with a wooden treasure chest at her side guarded by four knights.

A Service of Thanksgiving will take place at 2.30pm and each individual who makes a gift will be asked to sign a book, which will form part of the Cathedral’s archives.

Lichfield Cathedral dean Adrian Dorber said: "The glass is intrinsically linked with womanhood. It was made for the sisters of Herkenrode Abbey. They were a wealthy community and as each sister entered the Abbey she brought a dowry from her family. Now we are asking the women of the region to make a positive gift to Lichfield Cathedral of pieces of jewellery they no longer need or wear.

“It is a beautiful way of saving the glass – treasure to save a treasure. Everyone knows that relationships are often sealed with the exchange of gifts. But when they end or fragment there are memories, good or painful that cause either happiness or sorrow. We hope this occasion will help celebrate the good and help to heal the hurt. By making a gift of jewellery donors will be saving a European treasure and blending their own individual story with that of Lichfield Cathedral."

Guests are invited to come at any point between 1pm and 4pm to sign the book, ‘meet Queen Elizabeth 1st’ and take part in the Service of Thanksgiving.

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