Church of England transports millions of pounds worth of rare valuables to the Tower of London over fears they would be looted from empty buildings during coronavirus lockdown
- Valuable ‘Church plate’ goods were moved to the Tower of London last week
- Church officials feared valuables could be stolen from empty religious buildings
- The Tower of London has been a store of precious objects for centuries
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
The Church of England has transported millions of pounds worth of valuables to the Tower of London to prevent them being looted.
The goods, known as ‘church plate’, were reportedly moved to the Tower over the last few weeks.
Though all places of worship have been closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Church officials feared the valuables could be stolen from the empty buildings.
The Church of England has transported millions worth of valuables to the Tower of London to prevent it being looted
The goods, known as ‘church plate’, were reportedly moved to the Tower over the last few weeks
They confirmed that valuables, which included rare silver, paintings and artefacts from London’s 400 churches, had been moved ‘to a number of secure locations’, according to the Telegraph.
The Tower of London has historically been a store of precious objects over the past few centuries, with the Crown Jewels finding a home there since 1661.
With its on-site wardens and secure structure, historic items were kept in the Tower during both World Wars and periods of civil unrest.
A Tower of London spokeswoman said: ‘We are very happy to look after the church plate during the lockdown.’
It is understood that the church plate will be stored on the premises for the duration of the lockdown to ensure their safety.
A spokesman from the Diocese of London said: ‘The focus of the operation has about preserving and protecting heritage, as London’s priests and churches act as stewards of so much of the capital’s rich history.
The Tower of London has historically been a store of precious objects over the past few centuries, with the Crown Jewels finding a home there since 1661
‘The Diocese of London’s Parish Property Support Team worked with an independent conservator over several days to ensure that everything was properly logged before being packed carefully into crates and transported via a number of vehicles, before being taken to secure locations.
‘Not all of the items could be fully valued, because some are so rare and unusual.
‘Even London’s priests do not know the exact locations where items from their churches are being housed for safe-keeping.’
The church plate at St Paul’s Cathedral will stay put, however, due to the building boasting extensive 24-hour security
Though crime has dropped by more than a fifth since lockdown began, police forces across the country have warned of criminals taking advantage by stealing cars and scrap metal.
The church plate at St Paul’s Cathedral will stay put, however, due to the building boasting extensive 24-hour security.
Looting from churches was rife during the English Civil War, with both Royalists and Parliamentarians stealing precious items to fund their armies.