Welcome to the first ever Lincolnshire #WoldsAndCoastChurches Festival




The Lincolnshire Wolds & Coast Churches Festival is going to be a great celebration, with around 140 churches opening their doors during the weekends of 31st August & 1st September and 7th & 8th September 2019.

With free entry, churches and chapels from Louth to Woodhall Spa, Wragby to Sutton on Sea, will be celebrating their rich architecture and heritage and offering visitors the chance to become treasure seekers and discover hidden secrets.

Top: Hemingby. Bottom Left: Horncastle. Bottom Right: Holton cum Beckering*

“Our churches are full of wonder,” says Revd Nick Brown, rector of Louth St James. “Each offers a different experience, whether it is beautiful tranquillity and spirituality or vibrant exhibitions and music or simply offering a welcoming oasis of peace and calm.”

“The festival is also about having family fun,” continues Nick. “Time is so precious today as families juggle busy lives against quality leisure days out. So we have created fantastic activities that every member of the family will want to get involved in. Some churches will have backpacks available, encouraging ‘treasure seekers’ to explore the beauty of our stained glass windows, and even create their own masterpiece window to display at home. And we also invite everyone to take the challenge and try and spot all the treasures in our brand new Church Treasure Hunt book, not only during the festival weekend but beyond as well.”

Clockwise from left: Louth, Tattershall, Kirkby on Bain*

Mini museums on your doorstep

The festival is the perfect way to discover these “mini museums” on your doorstep. The Festival covers a wide area of rural Lincolnshire, encompassing the market towns of Louth, Spilsby, Alford, Horncastle, Tattershall, Wragby, Woodhall Spa and Skegness as well a hundred rural hamlets and seaside villages in between, each church is unique, with an intriguing story to discover:

St James Louth has the tallest steeple of any medieval church in England and played a pivotal role in the Lincolnshire Rising.
St Margaret Well and a gamekeeper who was murdered by poachers, reputed to be the source of the Lincolnshire Poacher.
Raithby has the oldest Methodist chapel in the county. Built in 1779 and opened by John Wesley, it reveals an exquisite and lovingly preserved Georgian interior.
Fulletby St Andrew, set high in the Wolds is constructed like many churches around, in local greenstone. Although undergoing many alterations, the church still retains a two-seater sedilia from a previous medieval church. A small exhibition on local Victorian poet, Henry Winn provides an entertaining look at life in rural Lincolnshire, and also explains why Winn is featured in the Guinness Book of Records.

Spilsby, Horncastle, Stickford and Horncastle*

St James, Spilsby with its Willoughby chapel contain fine tombs and brass connected to the Willoughby de Eresby family. They are well worth a visit as well as the stone memorials for Sir John Franklin and his brothers.
Lincolnshire’s seaside churches hold a charm of their own. Many are large like Theddlethorpe all Saints which is also known as the “Cathedral of the Marsh” due to its impressive spaciousness and beautiful exterior carvings. And next door, St Helens has a fine stone reredos. Other striking churches found on this landscape are close by including Addlethorpe, which is holding a flower festival celebrating the Angel roof, Croft All Saints with its 15th century altar screen and Skidbrooke with the early medieval isolated church of St Botolph standing alone in the Lincolnshire marshes.
Then there are churches that hold quirky facts. For instance St Andrew Ashby Puerorum claims to house the oldest bell in England! And a gamekeeper who was murdered by poachers on the estate of Well, close to the Georgian chapel, is reputed to be the source of the Lincolnshire Poacher song! And what about Stewton, St Andrew? Who would have thought that tucked away in rural Lincolnshire you would find the church used by Hornby, the international company, to be a model for their Skaledale village!

Top images High Toynton. Bottom image Benniworth*

Many activities are also planned: from organ recitals to flower and art exhibitions, bell ringing to afternoon teas. There will also be exhibitions at many churches including Holy Trinity Hagworthingham, St Andrew Anderby, St Lawrence Revesby and St Margaret Thimbleby. 

Find hidden treasures

“The invitation is offered to everybody to come and celebrate our rich church heritage,” sums up Nick. “Whatever the weather, make sure that during two weekends in September, you take to the outdoors. You’ll be able to learn about our communities’ heritage, view magnificent carvings, memorials and stained glass, chat with local historians, listen to the sounds of church music and of course, find all those hidden treasures! You will not be disappointed.”

Of course, all the Lincolnshire Wolds & Coast churches are here for every day, to be explored and enjoyed at any time, not just for visiting for two weekends of the year. A comprehensive directory featuring all our churches is now available from Tourist Information Centres, on this Festival website and on the ExploreChurches website: www.explorechurches.org

Every church really does have a story to tell.

Clockwise from left: Theddlethorpe, Langton by Old Woodhall, Fulletby*

The festival invites people to join them on 

Facebook/LincsWoldsAndCoastChurches  

Twitter/ChurchesFest 

...and use the hashtag #WoldsAndCoastChurches when talking about the event online

Brochures will also be placed in libraries, Tourist Information Centres and participating churches, and can be requested by emailing: lincswoldsandcoastchurches@gmail.com or calling 01507 527905.


Just some of the people who attended our first conference!

The first Lincolnshire Wolds and Coast Churches Festival conference took place on 18th July at Louth St James church to a resounding success. Keynote speaker Rt Revd David Court encouraged everyone with his talk about the importance of opening our churches to all.

Thank you to speakers Linda Patrick (Explore Churches), Rev Nick Brown (Rector of Louth St James), Angela Montague Push Creativity Studio, Lincolnshire, Rt Revd David Court (Bishop of Grimsby) Sarah Crossland (Explore Churches), Lynne Ingham (Ecclesiastical), Helen Gamble (Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service) and Fran Bell (The Diocese of Lincoln).

The Lincolnshire Coast & Wolds Churches Festival project is supported by the National Churches Trust and managed by NCT Heritage Services (company number: 11194504). The project has been funded by the generous donations of National Lottery Players as well as the following organisations: ExploreChurches, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Visit Lincs Coast and East Lindsey District Council.

* Photographs of Louth church credit East Lindsey District Council. Photos of Spilsby, Stickford and Theddlethope churches credit Josh Holmes. All other photographs credit Ashley Taylor for ExploreChurches.org.