One of the largest free festivals of its type in Europe, Lincolnshire’s West Lindsey Churches Festival will return this May after a two-year absence.
More than 90 historic churches spanning centuries of history will open their doors offering a warm welcome to visitors along with events, exhibitions, lunches and even organ music.
North of Lincoln, the West Lindsey area is renowned for its unspoilt countryside with ancient stone churches, as well as the historic market towns of Gainsborough, Market Rasen and Caistor.
And for the first time since 2019, churches located across the area will join together for the usually annual Festival, which this year takes place over the weekends of 7/8 and 14/15 May.
Fittingly for 2022 – the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year – four churches will be staging celebrations during the Festival’s first weekend.
St John at Southrey, near Lincoln, a little white wood church that looks like it would be at home in New England, was built in 1898 by parishioners and a local carpenter following Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee year, and this year will mark Queen Elizabeth’s milestone with a red, white and blue flower display.
At Holy Trinity, Swallow, an exhibition will include personal reminiscences and souvenirs of the Queen’s 70-year reign, while Middle Rasen’s St Peter & St Paul, will have a theme of ‘The Queen – Service before Self’.
Other highlights include Stow Minster, one of England’s most important Saxon parish churches, and known as the ‘mother church of Lincoln Cathedral’, where a Viking vandal has also scratched a graffiti carving of a longboat into the wall.
St Paul’s at Morton, near Gainsborough, boasts 10 stained glass windows by celebrated British artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones, while the unremarkable exterior of the small medieval church of St Lawrence in Snarford, near Market Rasen, holds a surprise – some of the most spectacular memorial sculptures in Lincolnshire, telling a story of love and loss.
Across both weekends several churches will be offering lunches, and some will also be playing organ music during their opening days.
For more details about the Festival, head to www.churchesfestival.info or follow on social media under the hashtag #LoveLincsChurches.
For general information about visiting Lincolnshire, see www.visitlincolnshire.com