Church open doors to show off treasures

Open doors and hidden Lincolnshire gems, this is the welcome awaiting visitors to St Mary's Church in Claxby, one of the 86 taking part in this year's Churches Festival EMN-140605-081615001
Open doors and hidden Lincolnshire gems, this is the welcome awaiting visitors to St Mary's Church in Claxby, one of the 86 taking part in this year's Churches Festival EMN-140605-081615001

Churches in the Market Rasen and Caistor areas are among those opening their doors this weekend, May 10 and 11, as part of the West Lindsey Churches Festival.

The festival spans two weekends, with the churches to the west of the district opening next weekend.

Many churches have themed their exhibitions this year around the centenary of the outbreak of World War I.

And one church in particular - St Peters at Friesthorpe – is linked to the British family that endured the biggest loss in the Great War. Amy Beechey, widow of the Rev William Thomas Beechey of Friesthorpe, saw six sons leave to fight in the conflict, and only one return.

A plaque dedicated to the five sons sits within the church.

Caistor Parish Church features accounts of the conflict being recollected through poetry, including contributions from local school children, and at East Barkwith an exhibition of photographs has an emphasis on those who fought in the First World War.

Nettleton too will be focusing on the Great War, with an exhibition paying tribute to the 10 local men who died, whose names are listed on an original roll of honour, as well as records of the fundraising efforts which culminated in the building of a memorial bungalow in the village.

Other themed exhibitions cover a host of activities for all the family.

Middle Rasen Church is offering a weekend of love, Holton cum Beckering will be showing off a collection of hats and at Market Rasen’s St Thomas there will be a flower display with the theme of The History of Market Rasen, augmented by a display from the Rase Heritage Society.

And with 40 churches in total to visit sustenance is needed, so the majority of venues will be offering refreshments, from a rejuvenating cup of tea through to full meals.

Amongst them are Caistor Methodist Church, which will be serving Christian Aid lunches on the Saturday, from 11.30am to 1pm, while on the Sunday, St Edmunds at Riby is offering a hearty Big Breakfast from 8.30am to 11.30am - the full works for £7.

And en route round the churches, music will fill many, with the help of the Lincolnshire Organists Association, on Saturday through the organ trail at Faldingworth (11am to 11.30am), Brocklesby (12.30pm to 1pm) on the antique chamber organ, Caistor Methodist (2pm to 2.30pm) and Grasby (3pm to 3.30pm).

But for those who simply want to absorb the atmosphere of these historic and spiritual buildings, head for the self-nominated quiet churches, including those at Kingerby, Lissington, Buslingthorpe, Clixby and Usselby.

Full details of all the churches, over both weekends, is available at www.churchesfestival.info or in the 48-page brochure which can be downloaded or picked up at one of the churches and other information outlets.