Philanthropists’ bid to buy Julian Bower site for community

Prisca Furlong is leading the campaign to preserve the Julian Bower site.
Prisca Furlong is leading the campaign to preserve the Julian Bower site.

A group of philanthropists have joined forces in a bid to purchase the controversial recreation ground at Julian Bower in Louth, to preserve it as a site for community use.

However, the viability of the proposal will hinge on the decision made by the landowners, the King Edward VI School (KEVIS) Trust at their autumn meeting - and whether a recent housing application for four bungalows is granted planning permission.

The Julian Bower site has been the subject of controversy in recent months, as the dispute over the 
true archeological and historical significance of the land continues.

As reported previously, a report by Allen Archeology, following a survey of the site last autumn, stated that there were no archeological significant features or deposits at Julian Bower.

However, a separate report by Dr Kevin Hayward, published in July, concludes that a piece of stone found at the site “could have formed part of the very early 
apsidal cathedral”.

Campaigner Prisca Furlong believes the site could have been home to the Anglo-Saxon Sidnacester Cathedral, which has been lost and sought for over 1,000 years.

Prisca and the small group of philanthropists have approached the landowners with an expression of interest in buying the site this month.

Their group’s aim would be to first carry out community-led archaeological exploration of the site involving interested local people, under the direction of a professional archaeological company.

When the site’s exact archaeological value has been assessed, the group would then aim to plant the site up as a wild flower meadow with a reconstructed turf maze and educational information boards relating the history of the site.

All profits from the sales of Prisca’s book, ‘From Pagan Stone to Soaring Spire’, due to be released this autumn, will also be put into a charitable fund to support archeological exploration in the local area

Prisca’s letter to the KEVIS Trust, on behalf of the philanthropists, states: “The site could then continue to be used by walkers and for quiet contemplation, using the reconstructed labyrinth, or taking in the beautiful panoramic views and the particularly impressive view of St James’ Church.

“It is envisaged that this would enhance, promote and preserve the cultural and historical footprint of Louth and help to encourage more tourism into and regeneration of the town.”

When approached by the Leader for comment, a spokeswoman for the KEVIS Trust said: “ Trustees are scheduled to meet on September 26 but, subject to the availability of Trustees, it is hoped to arrange to meet sooner to discuss two expressions of interest received by the Charity.

“Over a year ago, the Charity accepted an offer for the former playing field and that offer is still current.

“Trustees are required by The Charity Commission to obtain best value.”