Church with only Zulu War window up for sale

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LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) A Grade II-listed Georgian church with the country's only stained-glass window commemorating the death of a soldier killed in the Zulu War is being offered for sale, the Church of England said today.

St John's Church in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is being offered without a price tag after lying empty for 20 years.

Any buyer of the 217-year-old church will acquire not only the stained-glass window but a rare example from the William IV period of a painted window, iron battlements and bells.

Cast iron columns inside the church are among the earliest examples of such construction, the church said.

But it is the window, a memorial to the 1,727 British soldiers who were killed in the bloody 1879 war, that makes the church notable.

The seven-month war, which included the battle for Rorke's Drift that was immortalised in the film ''Zulu'' starring Michael Caine, signalled the end of the independent Zulu nation and established British colonialism in the region.

More than 8,250 Zulus were killed and a further 3,000 were wounded.

Anyone wanting to buy the derelict church must show they can afford the estimated 1.5 million pounds needed to restore it.

Offers are open until the end of April, 2008.

The church, one of the oldest buildings in the city centre, needs repairs to the bell frame and gallery as well as internal fittings.

It is being sold after church officials were unable to find an alternative use for the building.

Under church law, officials must find the most suitable alternative use, which may not necessarily be the one which produces the biggest financial gain.

Failure to find a suitable use could result in the church being demolished.

REUTERS RJ BD2045

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