The bronze gates originally stood outside Cathedral in Norwich but were removed in the early 1970s after others were stolen. Following the remodelling of the building’s vehicle and pedestrian entrances, the decision was taken to sell the pair.
Now, more than 40 years on, and the gates are being put up for sale at an auction house in Sussex along with three smaller gates with the same provenance – and it is hoped a benefactor could pay for their return.
The Rev Patrick Limacher, deacon at the cathedral, said: “The parish priest at the time sold the bronze gates, but retained two of them, which were cleaned, restored and remodelled as screens and are now inside the cathedral. The ones that are coming up for auction still have the wonderful patina of gates that have been outside for decades. We have checked that these gates are definitely part of the ones that were sold over 40 years ago.”
Dcn Patrick said the church could not justify spending money on the gates, but said “it would be lovely” if a benefactor stepped in to purchase them.
He said: “Although we could no longer reinstate them in their original place it would be wonderful to get some of our heritage back and perhaps install them in the garden of the cathedral.”
The gates, made by Thomas Potter & Sons Ltd at Putney Bridge Ironworks London, are estimated to sell for £15,000 to £25,000. They measure 223cm high and 280cm wide.
Three similar single gates, also sold by the cathedral, are expected to sell for £5,000 to £8,000 each.
They will come up for sale at Summers Place Auctions in a sealed bid auction, ending on Wednesday, June 12 at 4pm.
James Rylands, one of the directors at Summers Place Auctions, said: “Part of our job is to discover the history of an object we have been offered by a vendor to sell at auction.
“It is always particularly exciting when we can help return something to its original place.”
Pictured above are the Victorian gates, now up for auction.