Whitchurch Museum have joined with the town's archaeology group to bring a genuine piece of the town's religious history to light.

The two groups have bought 16 brass plaques from the Dodington United Reform Church, which were discovered behind a temporary wooden wall when the building was earmarked for development.

There were 23 plaques originally and Judith Hoyle is delighted to have brought a big part of the town's religious heritage back for all to see.

"Originally there were 23 18th century plaques in the first small Presbyterian chapel situated in Dodington," she said. "When this building became a school they were transferred to the Church of the Saviour in Mill Street. After this chapel was demolished they were given a home in the URC where they remained until the sale of the building.

"Sadly the URC didn't make legal arrangements for the disposal of the items within the chapel. So although we haven't got the original 23 we are extremely happy to have those that were still in situ.

Museum assistant David Broad takes on the story. he added: "The plaques here are from the original Presbyterian church in Dodington, which is just down a side alley and I believe was used as a dance hall in the 1940s.

"During its restoration at the chapel, they found them behind a wooden wall, which had been built since. There was a metal chapel which was called Church of the Saviour, run by Rev'd Evans who was a historian and he restored the plaques. It was only meant to be a temporary structure and they were moved to the United Reformed Church in Dodington.

"They were left in the building when the church sold it. I was in touch with the guy who owned it so we could purchase them, which we did, and now they're on show. This is a real story for the town; a story of the town and the individuals who set up the Presbyterian church and Phillip Henry from Broad Oak.

"He was a dissident minister and he ran a dissenters' college to train other people who dissented from the Church of England.

"When he died, he was buried at St Alkmund's but when it collapsed the church warden took his and wife's body for safe keeping. But when it was rebuilt, there was a push against the dissidents, so he was buried in secret at the church so no-one knows exactly where."

The plaques are on display on the ground floor at Whitchurch Museum in St Mary's Street.