A church has stood in Great Hale for 1,000 years and to celebrate this year’s patronal flower festival, St John the Baptist church will be recognising its heritage through  honouring the kings and queens from those periods.

The festival will run from Friday 19th June to Sunday 21st June and there are activities on each day. 

The organisers will have a long period of history to choose from as the tower is Norman (1066-1154) although the rest of the church dates from the 13th and 14th centuries, so it has stood through the lives of Richard the Lionheart, Shakespeare and Henry Tudor to name but a few. A stone Madonna situated on the tower is probably from the original stone church which was built around the time of Ethelred the Unready (c978-1016). This is only one of ten of this type in the UK.

Getting into the spirit of things several members of the church will be getting dressed up in a costume that honours the church's history and each flower arrangement will represent a King or Queen that has had some involvement or link with the Church.  The craft group are already busy making items in red, white and blue to honour our current queen.

Bardney Abbey, a former Benedictine monastery which was founded in 697, used to own the church, and to mark that historical connection, Wild Church, which is aimed at young families, is hoping to grow healing herbs in the churchyard.

There will be many activities for everyone to enjoy (these are listed below) and a group of medieval singers will be performing at some point over the weekend.

Elaine Huckle, Churchwarden said: “Our church is a very special place and we recently established a history group so we could learn more about it. We all feel that the stones in the church seem to radiate a life of their own and given its long history and sacredness that is probably not surprising.

“We have recently learnt that the stone steps in the tower, which form part of the spiral staircase, are 950 years old and you wonder how many people have walked up them as the stone is eroded and gently dips in the middle. This staircase is the only one of its age and type in the UK. This is just one of its secrets we have learned. 

“Given our rich history, choosing our theme of kings and queens for our flower festival was very easy although for Christians of course there will only ever be one King, Jesus Christ, and he will be evident in so many ways.”

Here is the full list of activities:

Friday, 19th June, at 7.00pm the Sleaford Vintage Brass will be playing music that represents flowers as well as some patriotic tunes.

Saturday, 20th June from 10am till 4pm the church will be open all day for the festival. Visitors will be able to try their hand at archery and croquet and there will be guided history tours. 

A sokeman's platter (a sokeman is a peasant) will be available to purchase on Saturday lunchtime as well as other refreshments and cakes.

For younger visitors there will be opportunities to dress up and to make heraldic shields and crowns.

Sunday 21st June - 11am till 4pm. The church will be open for people to see the flowers and there will be a special Festival Service at 6.00pm. A Victorian Tea will be served in the afternoon and there will also be a guided history tours during the day.