HISTORIC religious treasures dating back hundreds of years have been discovered in an old safe at St Peter and St Paul Church in Lower Brailes.

The finds include a 17th Century silver thimble and a silver platter, along with an old will belonging to George Bishop. The safe had been jammed shut and forgotten for years until new parish priest Fr Brian Doolan arrived from St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham.

Historian Fr Doolan set about opening the safe even appealing for a safecracker, with no questions asked, to help. Experts from a safe company eventually managed to open the safe this week.

"These are wonderful finds" said Fr Doolan. "The thimble and platter are valuable and the will, in manuscript form and bound, must go straight into the diocesan archives.

George Bishop was father of Bishop William, the first post-reformation Catholic bishop in England.