Cathedral’s stolen figurines returned after being found on South Shields market

These 19th century carved figurines were found on South Shields market, 10 years after being stolen from St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle.
These 19th century carved figurines were found on South Shields market, 10 years after being stolen from St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle.

Rare figurines which were stolen from a North-East cathedral have been returned - after being found on South Shields flea market.

The oak figurines, carved by expert craftsman Ralph Hedley between 1882 and 1889, were stolen from St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle in a break-in in July 2005.

Ten years later, they have been returned after being found at the Friday flea market by James and Denise Fraser, who researched and restored them.

“We had been researching their history using the details on the inscriptions and made the connection with St Nicholas Cathedral,” said Denise.

“We wanted to see the place that had originally housed the figures and to find out more, and the cathedral was the obvious place to go.

“We are proud that we have rescued and restored such objects of beauty and historical significance and although we were glad to bring them home.”

The figurines will be on display in the cathedral as part of Heritage Open Days from September 11 to 13.

Plans to reinstall them permanently in the cathedral are in progress.