Church leaders in Gosberton are doing their bit to save their “unique” elephant’s head gargoyle on the 14th century tower at St Peter and St Paul although repairs will cost thousands of pounds.
The elephant’s long and bendy lead trunk appears to be becoming detached from the stonework and arrangements are being made to take it down, for the first time in more than 600 years, to make it safe.
Church officials fear the trunk is in danger of dropping to the ground so scaffolding will be put up within the next fortnight at a cost of around £1,400 for the job to be done.
Vicar the Rev Ian Walters said the church council will then set about the task of seeing whether it is possible to raise the money to restore the medieval treasure.
He said: “This unique national gargoyle gets quite a lot of mention in books and on the web, and we get a lot of people coming with cameras.
“But it looks as if our elephant may sadly have to lose its trunk for the first time in recorded history.
“We do hope that it might be restored one day.
“Perhaps we might even be able to have a ‘save the elephant’ appeal.”
Debbie Reynolds, the vicar’s assistant, said English Heritage were contacted some time ago and they are not aware of another elephant gargoyle on a church in Britain.
If the elephant is to be replaced, it will cost “several thousands” because the stonework will have to be carved by hand.
The church has several other gargoyles – with strange, creature-like faces – and they are all in good condition.