A village church has benefited from a unique new feature and urgent repairs, thanks to a £185,700 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
St Andrew’s Church in Utterby, which was built by the Gilbertine monks of North Ormsby Priory around seven centuries ago, recently installed engraved glass panels (pictured, p.11), depicting the past, present and future of the church and village life in Utterby.
The spectacular feature is unique in Lincolnshire.
The right-hand glass panel shows a Gilbertine monk leading a donkey laden with wool (past); the centre panel features the church with the packhorse bridge at the foot of the churchyard (present); and the left-hand panel shows the future, featuring arable farming and walking tourists.
Although most of the grant money went towards urgent repairs to the masonry, roof, glazing, lighting and drainage, a couple of other interesting ideas were brought to life with the remainder of the cash - including £10,000 towards the ‘parish chest’ which holds historical records, newspaper cuttings, maps, and more - with contributions coming from the local community.
Information and historical records have also been digitally archived and made available to visitors, who can use an interactive touch screen to view these items.
Local people are invited to provide material such as family histories and local photographs to enhance the contents of the parish chest, and the children of Utterby Primary Academy have been writing their own histories for inclusion.
Prior to the work commencing last year, Tim Wood, churchwarden and project spokesperson, said: “We’re thrilled that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players.
“Over the years many local people have worked tirelessly to improve the church and to keep it open for everyone.
“This grant means that we can finally achieve urgently needed repairs to our beautiful and much loved church, as well as providing a better venue for people to learn about our local heritage.”
During The Leader’s visit to the church last week, Tim’s sentiments were echoed by Penny Would (Secretary to the District Church Council and the Heritage Group), David Would (committee member), and Penny and Roger Staniforth (members), who all said they were delighted that the essential repairs had been carried out, and the exciting features had been added.
Mr Would said: “This is the great historical centre of the village, and I think more people will come along.
“The parish chest is a very important item because there aren’t many modern parish chests - and all the records go back so many years!”
St Andrew’s held its special ‘Snowdrop Celebration’ at the weekend, and it will be hosting a coffee morning on Saturday March 16.
The church holds a monthly service at 9.30am on the 4th Sunday of each month.
• Visit www.utterbychurch.co.uk for more information.