HISTORIC plaques have been unearthed under a dilapidated garden shed after remaining hidden for 40 years.
Reverend Peter Mallinson made the unexpected discovery when he found the three plaques buried under a shed in the garden of St Anne’s Church, in St Anne’s Road, on Canvey.
It is thought they were placed in the shed for safe keeping when the new church building was installed in 1974.
The first plaque dates back to 1911 and celebrates the coronation of King George V, grandson to Queen Victoria.
It originally stood in the old church, which was pulled down in 1974, next to a bell commemorating the coronation.
The second wooden plaque, which was severely damaged when it was discovered, commemorates heroic Canvey soldier Private Robert Monteith who was a lay reader at the church.
Private Monteith served with the 9th Battalion Essex Regiment and died for his country aged just 26 at Flanders Fields in September 1918.
It was just weeks before the war ended.
The final plaque is in memory of William Budd, who was a church warden and passed away in 1917.
Rev Mallinson said: “We had to remove the shed because it was falling apart, but I certainly never expected to find these underneath it.
“I’m not sure how long they have been there, I’m presuming they were put there for safe keeping while the new church was being built, and we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary this year.
“They must’ve just been forgotten about.”
Following their discovery they are back where they belong, taking pride of place on the church wall having been lovingly restored.
Rev Mallinson said: “I am absolutely delighted to have found them. I cannot believe how well they have been restored. They are part of the church’s history and they belong here.”