Heritage, music, flowers and fun

Newly commissioned stained glass in the tower at Claxby St Mary EMN-150421-125004001
Newly commissioned stained glass in the tower at Claxby St Mary EMN-150421-125004001
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More than 80 places of 
worship will open their doors over two weekends next month for one of the finest church festivals in Europe

Now in its 19th year, West Lindsey’s Churches Festival spans May 9 to 10 and May 16 to 17, with churches to the west of the district opening on the first weekend and to the east opening on the second weekend.

High on the Wolds is this church at Normanby EMN-150423-130209001

High on the Wolds is this church at Normanby EMN-150423-130209001

The festival is a celebration of each church’s place in history, especially in the communities they serve, as well as being beautiful buildings for worship, as organiser Linda Patrick explains.

“Visitors do not have to be a regular churchgoer to enjoy the feeling of peace and welcome when entering a church or chapel for the first time,” she said.

“And the welcome comes in many different guises, from people manning the church wishing to share their knowledge to the building itself.

“The welcome is there for anyone that wants to experience anything a church festival offers – from bells to church music, from architecture to a great photo opportunity, and, of course that well-made Victoria sponge.

Nettleton Church opens for the West Lindsey Churches Festuival next month EMN-150423-130632001

Nettleton Church opens for the West Lindsey Churches Festuival next month EMN-150423-130632001

“And for those seeking the spiritual, we have many designated ‘quiet’ churches set aside for contemplation and prayer.”

The first weekend - May 9 and 10 - will cover an area from Morton in the west to Spridlington and Reepham in the east, where a wealth of treasures will be uncovered.

“If you want something truly epic step into the remarkable interior of the ‘mother of Lincoln Cathedral’, Stow Minster, where a Viking vandal has scratched a longboat into the wall,” said organiser Paul Howitt-Cowan.

“Morton near Gainsborough boasts 10 Burne Jones stained glass windows that are simply exquisite.”

The second weekend - May 16 and 17 - will focus on churches spanning the eastern half of West Lindsey, from Riby in the north to Southrey in the south, including those around Market Rasen and Caistor.

And as well as the heritage, the festival will also offer homemade food, an organ music trail with 11 free-entry performances, bell-ringing, crafts, book sales, art displays and themed exhibitions.

Full details on all the churches can be found at www.churchesfestival.infoor pick up a brochure from libraries and the churches.

Alternatively email churchesfestival.info@gmail.com or call 01673 818315.