Thieves caused £60,000 worth of damage to a historic church by stealing lead from its roof.

St John the Baptist Church at Inglesham is a Grade 1 listed building on the Wiltshire border.

Members of The Churches Conservation Trust discovered that the lead was missing during a routine maintenance check on Tuesday, April 11.

The trust's conservation projects manager Meriel O’Dowd said: "We are absolutely devastated to discover such a large lead theft at one of our most beautiful, loved and historically significant churches.

"So that the interior of the church suffers no water damage, it is vital that we start work as soon as possible to permanently repair the roof.

"We will now work with our dedicated volunteers and the local community to start raising the funds needed to safeguard this special church."

The trust is a national heritage charity which will now try to raise the tens of thousands of pounds needed to permanently fix the roof.

The theft has been reported to local police and national heritage crime authorities.

The 13th century church was restored in the 1880s to keep its medieval identity and famous collection of wall paintings intact. These internationally significant paintings are now at risk of water damage due to the broken roof.

A meeting will be held at the church at 5pm on June 6 to discuss the conservation efforts for the church and figure out the best way to fundraise for the much-needed repairs to the roof.

A temporary covering has been put in place by The Churches Conservation Trust to protect the interior of the church.

With the help of dozens of volunteers, the national charity protects 349 church buildings nationwide which attract almost two million visitors each year.

Many of the paintings in the Church of St John the Baptist have been painted over, with some seven layers thick.

Other notable features of the historic building include several 19th century texts, an 18th century pulpit, 15th century angels over the chancel arch, a 14th century doomboard, a 13th century masonry pattern all over the chancel, and an unusual Saxon stone carving of the Madonna and Child set in the south wall.

To make a donation for the roof's repairs, visit or call Blair Chadwick on 0117 929 1766.