Photo credit: Theddlethorpe, St Helen courtesy of Linda Patrick.

The second week of the Lincolnshire Wolds & Coast Churches Festival promises to be as good as the first with 55 churches open, sharing their history, folklore and treasures. The full list of all the churches and a guide to where refreshments etc will be served can be found on the festival website.

As before, these have been divided into categories to whet your appetite.

Wildlife, views and locations:

  • Croft, All Saints- The tower will be open for people to climb to see the magnificent views of the Wolds and Wash.
  • Hannah cum Hagnaby, St Andrew– flanked by arable land and sited on an elevated position, it has interesting views over the area.
  • Legbourne, All Saints– Extensive churchyard, a section given to the flourishing of wildlife.
  • Raithby, St Peter– Beautiful setting by a footpath running across the fields to Louth.
  • Rigsby, St James– Secluded setting in the trees. A hidden delight!
  • Stewton, St Andrew– Beautiful and peaceful location.
  • Tathwell, St Vedast– Commanding views of Tathwell Lake.
  • Welton le Wold, St Martin– Commanding views of the Wolds in a tranquil setting.
  • Withcall, St Martin– Nestled in a secluded fold with beautiful views of the surrounding farmland.
  • Wold Newton, All Saints– Lovely views over the Wolds.

Items of architectural interest:

  • Alford, St Wilfrid – Grade 1 listed building going back to the 14th century.
  • Alvingham, St Aledwold – Rare 13th century west tower.
  • Binbrook, St Mary & St Gabriel – Named as 'The Cathedral in the Wolds'.
  • Covenham St Mary, St Mary - Devil’s doorway (generally situated in the north wall of the church they were traditionally left open during a baptism to let out any evil spirits in the child. Following the Reformation, many were removed or blocked up. (Source National Churches Trust)) and Leper’s squint.
  • Croft, All Saints – Beautiful 13th century church.
  • Grainthorpe, St Clement – Grade 1 listed building in the Decorated and Perpendicular style.
  • Gunby, St Peter – Medieval church restored in 1870.
  • Hannah cum Hagnaby, St Andrew – Grade 1 listed building, medieval in origin.
  • Hogsthorpe, St Mary – One of the finest medieval churches with its first recorded incumbent dating to 1232.
    Huttoft, St Margaret of Antioch – Grade 1 listed building from the 13th century.
  • Legbourne, All Saints – Grade 1 listed building with a copper roof, dating from 1380.
  • Louth, St James – Parts of the church date from 1170. It has the tallest medieval parish spire in England.
  • Louth, St Michael - Described as being a fine example of the work of Louth architect James Fowler.
  • Ludborough, St Mary – Grade 1 listed building with origins from 1200. The tower dates to the 14th century.
  • Markby, St Peter – The only thatched church in Lincolnshire built on the site of the Markby Priory.
  • Marshchapel, St Mary – Grade 1 listed building, probably completed by 1420.
  • Raithby, Methodist Church – Grade 1 listed building and the oldest Methodist chapel in Lincolnshire.
  • Utterby, St Andrew – Traces of a devil’s doorway in the north aisle.
  • Wold Newton, All Saints – Pevsner called it a ‘humble church of great interest’. Leper’s door.
  • Well, St Margaret – An example of an early Georgian chapel collegiate estate church in the temple style. Grave of a gamekeeper, murdered by poachers believed to be the source of the song 'The Lincolnshire Poacher'.
  • Welton le Marsh, St Martin – Two fonts, one believed to be from the earlier medieval church (14th century) which was found in a field in 1912. The church was rebuilt in 1797.

Things to see and do including:

  • Alford, St Wilfrid – Jacobean pulpit, interesting stained glass and embroidery. There is an exhibition on local people including John Smith, one of the first English settlers in the New World (the US) who established a new colony in Jamestown. He was the governor of Virginia and influenced the colonisation of America.
  • Anderby, St Andrew – Display of exquisite bobbin lace with demonstrations over the weekend and an opportunity to have a go. Demonstration of egg crafting with a special tribute to Carl Faberge at regular intervals during the weekend.
  • Beesby, St Andrew – Look out for the stone carving of a man with toothache at the front of the nave.
  • Belleau, St John the Baptist – 13th century effigy of a knight recumbent in chain mail said to be from the Cistercian Priory at Greenfield.
  • Binbrook, St Mary & St Gabriel – Pebble treasure trail for children and craft activities.
  • Great Carlton, St John the Baptist– The villages of Great and Little Carlton go back to Neolithic times and there is a display of artefacts from that period displayed in the church. There is also an exhibition of the internationally significant Little Carlton Saxon Settlement.
  • Bratoft, St Peter & St Paul – Extraordinary allegorical painting of the defeat of the Spanish Armada over five feet in height and nearly seven feet wide.
  • Burgh le Marsh, St Peter & St Paul– Magnificent wooden eagle lectern crafted by Jabez Good a ‘local eccentric, barber and taxidermist’ and fine 17th century woodwork. The pulpit is dated to 1623.
  • Croft, All Saints – 13th century church with original pews and a fine Jacobean pulpit built in 1615. Early brass half effigy of a knight. The tower will be open for people to climb to see the magnificent views of the Wolds and Wash.
  • Grainthorpe, St Clement – 18th century graffiti of sailings ships, shoes and hands. 
  • Gunby, St Peter – Memorials to the Massingberd family with beautifully crafted brasses showing the couple standing under an ornate double canopy, dating to around 1400.
  • Hannah cum Hagnaby, St Andrew – The interior is largely unchanged since 1753 containing the original oak box pews. Two-decker pulpit.
  • Huttoft, St Margaret of Antioch – See the font with carvings of the saints, funeral bier and parish chest. Take the maze challenge.
  • Legbourne, All Saints – Join the trail to hunt for medieval graffiti. Fine 15th century restored chancel.
  • Mablethorpe, St Mary – Ancient church dating to 1300 when Sir Roger de Montalt, a baron during the reign of Henry VIII, gifted the land. An effigy of Robert de Mablethorpe can be seen, his head resting on a pillow upheld by angels and beneath his feet are two dragons engaged in fierce combat.
  • Manby, St Mary– A cushion on the altar table is made from material left over from the Queen’s coronation train.
  • Marshchapel, St Mary – 134 pew ‘poppies’ which are all individual. Display of artwork from a local school and craft stalls.
  • North Somercotes, St Mary – The 15th century font is of note.
  • North Thoresby, St Helen – Unusual Tudor benchends with ‘poppies’ featuring initials possibly of churchwardens. Norman font. The frontspiece of the children’s altar is made from silk brocade used at Westminster Abbey at the coronation of Elizabeth II.
  • South Cockerington, St Leonard – Lifelike monument of Sir Adrian Scrope in white alabaster. Music, mini fete and fun activities for dogs!
  • Orby, All Saints – See the complete list of vicars inside the church, the first one being Geoffrey De Ferriby in 1209.
  • South Elkington, All Saints – Highly decorated chancel ceiling based on the Te Deum.
  • Strubby, St Oswald– 13th century origins. Unique stained glass dedicated to rural, religious and farming heritage. The chancel has a 14th century headless effigy.
  • Tathwell, St Vedast – Fascinating monuments to the Hamby and Chaplin families who once owned vast acres of Lincolnshire.
  • Theddlethorpe, St Helen – Fine stone reredos dating from 1400 in the east wall of the north aisle.
  • Thorpe St Peter, St Peter – Pimms and hymns! The font is one of the finest examples of Early English work in Lincolnshire. Jacobean pulpit and carved oak chancel screen.
  • Utterby, St Andrew – Engraved glass window, unique in Lincolnshire with iconography illustrating church and village history. An interactive touch screen display provides information about the church and village. There is an effigy of the Rector of Utterby from 1358.
  • Willoughby with Sloothby, St Helena– John Smith, one of the founders of Jamestown, the first English settlement in North America, was baptised here. Scenes of his life are depicted in the windows and include Pocahontas, wife of John Rolfe, another of the early English settlers.
  • Withcall, St Martin– Display and stained glass dedicated to St Martin.
  • Wold Newton, All Saints – Decorated in magnificent High Church style with statues of saints of local interest. Some medieval glass and a 12th century font.

Roof Angels and Green men 

  • Addlethorpe, St Nicholas
  • Grimoldby, St Edith – dragon-fighting angels in the nave
  • Louth, St James
  • Marshchapel, St Mary
  • Burgh le Marsh, St Peter & St Paul – 11 Green men bosses in the roof of the nave.

Interesting facts/history

  • Stewton, St Andrew– Worship has taken place in the village for over 1,000 years. It has chosen by Hornby, the international railway company to be a model for their Skaledale village.
  • Sutton on Sea, St Clement– The church was rebuilt after the old one was destroyed by the sea. (Credit: the British Listed Buildings website)
  • Tathwell, St Vedast– Only one of two churches dedicated to St Vedast in Great Britain. He is depicted in stained glass in the church.
  • Trusthorpe, St Peter– The original church is said to have been situated a quarter of a mile east of where it currently stands now, but was destroyed by the encroaching sea.

This festival has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the generous donations of National Lottery players.  It is managed by the National Churches Trust.  Details of other Lincolnshire churches can be found by visiting