Planned Training Day organised by Churches and Visitors Tourism Association

Gainsborough United Reformed Church.
Image by Dave Bevism source
Announcement from one of our churches:

Gainsborough United Reformed Church are hoping to arrange a Training Day in March/April led by Sarah Crossland, a Trustee with Churches and Visitors Tourism Association (CVTA).

CVTA describes itself as ‘the UK’s leading body for promoting best practice in welcoming people to places of worship. Our work is all about developing the tourism potential and visitor experience...of our historical and contemporary sacred heritage, captured for the future, living in the present, and distinctive to the location of every community across the land.’ (See for further information).

Gainsborough U.R.C. is located close to the town centre of Gainsborough. It was built as a memorial to John Robinson ‘pastor of the Pilgrim Fathers'. We see this Training Day as a springboard to developing our ministry of welcome in conjunction with promoting our heritage potential in the approach to the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the ‘Mayflower’ in 2020.

The Training Day will be valuable to other churches seeking to promote their heritage and develop their ministry of welcome, including churches opening for the West Lindsey Churches Festival in May. There will be a cost, varying according to numbers attending. If 15-20 people attend, the cost will be no more than £20 per person according to current figures. 

The cost will include a sandwich lunch. Please contact Church Secretary Mrs. Susan Bee (e-mail:, Tel. 01427 811258) to register your interest.

Snowdrop Walks at Saxby, Knaith & Somerby Hall

Friday 10th – Sunday 26th February
More than 100,000 snowdrops along with crocus and winter iris create a winter walk through the gardens and woodland of Brightwater Gardens Saxby, Market Rasen, LN8 2DQ
Brightwater Gardens is one of the UK's newest winter gardens with 120,000 snowdrops, 40,000 crocus, and winter iris throughout the site.
These have created a magical ¼ mile winter walk leading through the garden and new woodland. There are banks of willows, dogwoods and winter flowering shrubs and pleached red-twigged limes to delight you as your wander.
The enthusiasm and long term vision of Brightwater makes up for the immaturity of this exciting new Winter garden.
For further information – telephone 01673 878820 or e-mail

Sunday 12 February Knaith St Mary
Wander through the Snowdrop and Aconite woods beside the mighty River Trent, in this park-like garden with its delightfully intriguing church - which will be open to view. There is also a longer marked walk on offer (45 minutes return) to the Gate Burton Chateau, which sits on a knoll with striking views over the Trent valley. Dogs on leads are welcome.
Knaith Hall, Near Gainsborough DN21 5PE (Mr & Mrs John Burke) 11am-3pm.
On the A156 Lincoln/Gainsborough road, three miles south of Gainsborough.
Entrance £2.50, in aid of St Mary's Church, Knaith.
Tea/coffee and delicious cakes will be available, together with a warm welcome as you toast by a roaring log fire in Knaith Hall.
Dates and times: Sunday, 12th February 11am-3pm.
Contact information:  Call 01427 611 696 for further information.

Sunday 19th February Snow Drop Walk at Somerby Hall 
At 2:00pm by kind permission of the Laming Family
Admission £3 including cake & tea.
Proceeds to St Laurence's Church, Corringham
Somerby Hall is now a ruin, however in February the grounds becomes a carpet of snowdrops & aconites, which are harbingers of Spring.
Meet at Wood house Farmstead - located A631 - as you travel from Corringham, it’s the farm on the right before you enter the dual carriage way - from Gainsborough - travel along the Thorndyke Way and it’s the farm on the left as you enter the single carriageway
Come with appropriate foot wear and clothing – will be cancelled if very inclement
Telephone for more information 01427 612017

The Ostrich OR Spital Inn, Lincolnshire, gets Blue Heritage Plaque

The important former coaching inn, The Ostrich or Spital Inn, had a new blue plaque unveiled by Dr David Marcombe on Saturday September 17th, 2017. The Ostrich, a long-forgotten part of the heritage of North Lincolnshire, has finally been recognised. The plaque records how William Cobbett, political writer, stayed there in April 1830 and wrote part of his celebrated Rural Rides. The plaque was sponsored by Mr Jim Foster of Rugby, who stayed in the building in the 1940s and 1950s. 

For safety reasons as the inn is next to the a busy road, the unveiling of a replica plaque took place in St Edmund's Chapel, situated opposite the inn, with the actual plaque already present on the side of the building. 

A replica of the plaque with sponsor Jim Foster
Dr David Marcombe, one of the owners of Spital Chapel,
talks about the history of the inn before unveiling the plaque
Jim Foster talks about the times he spent at the inn

Watch the Video

There is a short video of the unveiling on YouTube, including speeches by Dr David Marcombe and Mr Jim Foster. You can watch this below. 

The BIG Churches Festival #ChurchesFest2016

Lincolnshire's 2017 Open Churches Festival will happen over two weekends: 13-14th and 20-21st May. Over 90 churches are expected to take part. 

This website's content relates to events that happened in May 2016, and has been left in place to give a very good picture of what to expect in 2017!

2016 sees the May West Lindsey Churches Festival celebrate its 20th year, in which time it has grown to become one of the largest open churches festivals in Europe. The 2016 festival has also involved a record number of churches this year, with 94 taking part this year.

This free-entry event invites visitors to enjoy the rich heritage that each church offers alongside a host of activities, with 24 churches offering lunches, one offering “Breakfast in the Aisle” (Riby), 19 offering music recitals (mostly organ music with free entry), plus bell ringing, crafts, book sales, art displays and themed exhibitions.

This year the festival takes place on 7-8th May (churches to the East of the district) and 14-15th May (churches to the West). Full details can be found on this website, with a page dedicated to each church.

Festival organizer Linda Patrick explains the appeal of the festival: “Many of the churches are still the focal point of our villages and will provide you with an insight into the history and life of their parishes.  Others offer a vibrant collection of stained glass, architecture, carvings and artefacts.  And some of our smaller churches open their doors simply to provide you with an oasis of peace and spirituality.”
East Barkwith

She also explained how this year she has asked the churches to look into their histories: “New for 2016 is our ‘Stories Unlocked’ theme, and there’s local intrigue and mystery aplenty as we uncover some hidden stories that our churches have kept so secret over many years!”

Over 30 churches have dug into the archives and put forward a huge variety of stories including:

Gautby’s intriguing Vyer family, with a story that includes kidnapping, ransom and murder
Snelland’s vicar Thomas Retford and his involvement in the Lincolnshire Uprising
Scotton’s convict William Jacklin who was transported to Australia and became a founder of the first Presbyterian church in the town of Ebenezer
Kettlethorpe’s association with Katherine Swynford, the 3rd wife of John of Gaunt, well known from Anya Seton’s famous novel Katherine
Thoresway and the mystery of the Pagan drowning pool
Scothern and the hidden treasure of the Abbot of Barlings Abbey

These stories will be appearing on the festival website in the run up to the event, and available to read in the churches when people visit.

Festival chair Paul Howitt-Cowan commented on the festival's continued success: “Last year visitor numbers had increased by 1,536 to 7,229, and volunteer numbers were up from 456 to 639 – 183 more. With a record 94 churches taking part this year, we hope these figures will go up again and I encourage everyone to get involved: these buildings really are little gems of heritage, scattered across Lincolnshire."
Full details of the festival can be found on the website, where it is also possible to download the 48 page brochure and browse an interactive Google map of all 94 church locations.

Visitors are asked to upload their photos to the hashtag #ChurchestFest16 so they can be shared by the festival. Printed brochures are also in libraries and tourist information centers in Lincolnshire, and can be posted out on request, by sending name and address details to

The festival is sponsored by West Lindsey District Council and Systematic Print Management.

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