All set to be revealed in expanded Horncastle and Villages Churches Festival event

There are thankful village memorials at Minting Church
There are thankful village memorials at Minting Church

Every church has a story to tell, and none more so than the group of churches in and around Horncastle.

Following on from the success of its inaugural festival last year, the Horncastle and Villages Churches Festival will see 45 churches and chapels open their doors this weekend, September 8 and 9.

Benniworth Church will be open from dawn to dusk

Benniworth Church will be open from dawn to dusk

With free entry to all, each building hides a story simply waiting to be discovered.

The event brings together many rural communities, with churches offering homemade bakes and lunches, bell ringing, crafts, book sales and exhibitions.

“The weekend promises to be one of discovery, with stories just waiting to be told,” said Linda Patrick, one of the organisers of the festival.

“Who would have thought St Lawrence Church at Bardney was built just because the villagers made a nuisance of themselves at the nearby abbey?

A tranquil setting for Belchford Church

A tranquil setting for Belchford Church

“Or that vicars at the tiny villages of Belchford and Snelland were both hanged for committing treason?

“And where did those scythes above the Lady Chapel arch in Horncastle St Mary’s really come from?”

Many churches this year are commemorating two significant dates - 100 years since the formation of the RAF and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

High Toynton is a ‘double thankful’ village – a term coined by Arthur Mee after the first World War to pay thanks to all their servicemen returning home.

Open doors for churches

Open doors for churches

At High Toynton, one of only 14 villages in the UK, all servicemen from both world wars returned home safely.

In the church over the weekend, there will be a sculpture that has been a lifetime in the distilling in the ‘Open the Heart’ exhibition by Robert Lackerstein, currently a designer of bespoke furniture.

Robert originally trained as a mechanical engineer and went on to become skilled in upholstering Rolls Royce Cars.

He then built a successful business in London’s Kings Road, but his romantic heart overcame him, which is how he came to Lincolnshire.

Handicrafts will be on display at Holton cum Beckering Church

Handicrafts will be on display at Holton cum Beckering Church

Then he lost everything, including the lady, and ended up homeless.

Searching for balance and equanimity, he has long been fascinated by the heart: both the facts science is now researching about its technical abilities and the language and mythology associated with it.

There will also be a ‘Living Memory Bank’ on display – vintage writings of people living in this Doubly Thankful Village - and on Sunday there will be live music.

Over at Mareham le Fen Church, there will be military exhibitions, with the focus on local individuals and other related items, and the RAF exhibits will include items on loan from Cranwell Aviation Heritage museum, as well as model aircraft and a slide show.

Also see Mareham’s Silent Soldiers and sample recipes from 100 years ago.

Linda summed up the festival by saying: “Our church heritage is important for many reasons: it is such a part of our social history and gives us the answers to so many questions about how and why our towns and villages came to be.”

Snelland's vicar was hanged for treason

Snelland's vicar was hanged for treason

Full details of all the churches taking part in the festival are available in the printed brochure - in local libraries and participating churches - or at www.horncastlechurchesfestival.co.uk

Beautiful interiors sit within many of the church buildings

Beautiful interiors sit within many of the church buildings