As St Mary’s approaches its 850th year a number of events have been planned to help the church and parish celebrate and give thanks for the presence of God in our midst.

St Mary’s was built in 1170 by the Cluniac monks who also built the first chapel, which was located by the port, and the Manor House in 1080. They also erected a temporary wooden chapel within the present churchyard in 1134 as they then built the great stone church of St Mary’s in 1170.

Here is a list of all the 2020 events to celebrate the church’s heritage. All events take place in the Church unless otherwise noted.

  • Thursday 5th March - Afternoon talk at 2pm by Norman Wills on the history of St Mary’s.
  • Thursday 19th March - Afternoon talk at 2pm ‘The Life of the Cluniac Monks’ by Senior Castle Acre Guide Jo Murfitt.
  • Sunday 29th March - Service to mark the Feast of the Annunciation of Mary at 10.30am with the Revd Dr Rowan Williams.
  • Saturday 25th April to Sunday 3rd May - Flower Festival with a theme of The Life and Times of St Mary’s
  • Friday 8th May VE Celebrations - Tea Dance at the church hall at 2pm. In the evening there will be the lighting of the Beacon and Bell Ringing.
  • Wednesday 20th May - Lecture on ‘Medieval Times’ with Dr Mark Gardener, University of Lincoln at 7.30pm.
  • Thursday June 18th – Organ recital in the church with Andrew Reid, former director of the Royal School of Music at 7.30pm.
  • Friday 19th and Saturday 20th June - Son et Lumiere entertainment on the history of St Mary’s church at 7.30pm.
  • Thursday June 25th to 26th – An evening with illusionist Steve Price who is a member of the Magic Circle. 7.30pm at the Church Hall. Followed by Mission weekend.
  • Saturday 4th July - Hog Roast with entertainment provided by the Field and Dyke folk singers at 6pm.
  • Sunday 13th September - Patronal Festival. Celebration Service at 10.30am.

These events are only part of the range of activities planned over the course of the summer and autumn when there will be also be various concerts, team bell ringing and a display of photographs by the Long Sutton Photographic Group.  There will also be a visit by a member of the Royal Family during the year and more details will be shared regarding this at a later date. A special 2020 St Mary’s calendar and other commemorative souvenirs are also now available from the church as well as the new church history.

This story was published on Monday 17th February 2020.