Lost ‘squadron’ discovered in old chapel

One hundred-year-old paper aeroplanes among the ‘treasures’ found during renovation of St Anne’s Chapel.

THE restoration of one of Barnstaple’s oldest buildings has been revealing some fascinating centuries-old secrets.

On Thursday, St Anne’s Chapel manager Peter Doel joked on Twitter that he hoped to find a 100-year-old paper aeroplane that had perhaps crash landed in the eaves.

Little did he realise that the next day he’d find a whole ‘squadron’.

He said: “They are super things, not in the form you see them today. The pesky kids have even used pen nibs to weight the nose.

“Strictly speaking they probably not ‘aeroplanes’ as they probably pre-date flight.”

Renovation of the 14th century chapel has also uncovered a trove of ‘buried treasure’ beneath the floorboards.

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Slate pencils and Latin schoolwork, thought to date back to the late 19th or early 20th century, bear testament to the Grade I listed building’s use as a grammar school.

Mr Doel said the writing on the scraps of paper was ‘fairly clear’ and the handwriting ‘curiously old fashioned’.

He added: “The pencils are all slate for writing on small slates typical of the Victorian and Edwardian period.

“Some of the desks at St Anne’s have a bracket on the end to hold the slates when not in use. The use of slates saved money when paper was relatively expensive, certainly when compared with the reusable slates.

“The material falls between the floorboards, or gets stuffed or swept there.”

Mr Doel said the museum had a lot more items including a peashooter and bags of marbles.

Work began on a �230,000 renovation last month and is expected to be complete by the end of July.

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