We were pleased to receive the following news story from Linda Patrick (Church Support Officer, National Churches Trust)...

“Excellent blend of history, church history and social history, I am now a Joseph Banks fan!”

Just one of the many comments received from among the 39 visitors who journeyed on the Explore the Explorers coach tour recently, visiting four of Lincolnshire’s churches and discovering the life and works of Sir Joseph Banks.

Organised by the National Churches Trust and starting at St Lawrence, Revesby, the explorers learnt about the early years of Joseph Banks and how he was instrumental in the creation of the Horncastle Canal. A chance to look around the treasures within the church was followed by coffee and cake, before the group embarked on a mystery tour through deserted medieval villages, with the Revd Andrew Roberts regaling all with quirky Lincolnshire tales. The next stop was Scrivelsby, and with the sun shining and the daffodils in full bloom, St Benedict’s made for a pleasing sight as everyone walked across the paddock to explore this estate church.

“It was so interesting to learn about the Dymoke family,” stated Ken Johnston, who had travelled from Nottinghamshire to join the trip, “and lovely to be able to visit churches that normally would be closed.” 

Arriving in Horncastle, a scrumptious feast of Lincolnshire fayre was waiting to be served in St Mary’s. The church was turned into a mini Joseph Banks museum, with information about his life as well as a wonderful selection of exhibits from the herbarium, which is being created at the nearby Joseph Banks Centre, plus an entertaining talk by Paul Scott on this Victorian botanist.

A short stop at Thimbleby St Margaret and a private tour inside one of the delightful thatched cottages in the village, with its connection between a humble Lincolnshire carpenter and the first settlers of the US, was a fitting end to the day.

Like the guided walk that took place between three Wolds churches last month, the coach tour is one of the initiatives of the ‘Great Interpretations!’ project, being run by The National Churches Trust. The project is funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund and this tour was made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.

Speaking personally, there are four things that make our churches so welcoming; each are different, each are free to enter, each offer the same friendly welcome and each have a great story to tell. 

This is just the start of what will hopefully be more coach visits to Lincolnshire churches. And with 2020 being the two-hundredth anniversary of the death of Sir Joseph Banks, the town could well see plenty more visitors, especially from Australia and New Zealand, wishing to learn more about the town’s famous explorer.

To keep up with all the events happening, please see the Explore Churches website and sign up to the newsletter, or email me for more information.