WELCOME to a celebration of a rich architecture and heritage, of beautiful tranquillity and spirituality, and a welcoming oasis of peace that all our churches offer. This year 86 churches are participating over the two weekends. Numerous exciting activities are taking place for you to enjoy – from organ trails to flower and art displays, from bell-ringing to big brunch breakfasts.
Several of our churches are remembering the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. During week one take a visit to St Peter & St Paul’s church at Caistor where accounts of the conflict are being recollected through poetry. Nettleton, Southrey and East Barkwith are also well worth a visit with their exhibitions emphasising on the Great War.
During week two Blyton will be featuring memorabilia connected to WWI war casualties and veterans from the village and its surrounding area. Grayingham, Hemswell, Owmby by Spital and the Gainsborough Cemeteries and Chapel also have exhibitions remembering our brave sons and daughters.
But, the most poignant memory to our brave soldiers of the Great War has to be seen at St Peter’s church at Friesthorpe. Rev Beechey and his wife saw six of their sons go to war, tragically only one returned. A plaque commemorating the lives of the five Beechey brothers can be seen within the church. One cannot imagine the suffering this family endured...
Other exhibitions will also be in full swing over the weekend: visit Holton cum Beckering to see their collection of hats, or Middle Rasen with their weekend of “love.” Searby cum Owmby are displaying books and jigsaw puzzles whilst at Marton, “sport” is the theme for 2014. For a flower display with a difference, visit Hemswell, where their theme will be centred around a maypole.
Alternatively, if you want to visit something a little different, why not take a guided tour from Brocklesby church to the Brocklesby Mausoleum. It was built between 1786 and 1794 by the First Baron Yarborough, as a memorial to his wife Sophia who died at the early age of 33 years. The Architect was James Wyatt and his classical design is based on the Temples of Vesta, Rome and Tivoli.
Or take time out and relax in the quiet of a beautiful spiritual building and visit one of the self-nominated “quiet” churches. Choose between Stainfield, Buslingthorpe, Clixby and Usselby in week one and Burton, Brattleby and Ingham in week two.
Many churches will be serving refreshments to help nourish you on your visits. These vary from tea, coffee and biscuits to ploughman lunches, bacon butties and even traditional full cooked English Breakfasts. Many of our churches are offering lunches, including Christian Aid lunches at Caistor Methodist Church.
We hope you enjoy our festival and that you tell your friends about your experiences here in West Lindsey. We know many of you visit year after year and for that we thank you for your support in making this one of the biggest and best Churches Festivals in the country. Not only are you supporting our church heritage, you are also supporting many of our small villages. And this support will help ensure that the lovely community spirit that binds these rural Lincolnshire villages together stays forever.
Let’s hope 2014 really is a festival to remember.
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