Lottery cash boosts campaign to keep village church open

Regulars at All Saint's Church, Wilksby celebrate their Lottery Fund award
Regulars at All Saint's Church, Wilksby celebrate their Lottery Fund award

The butcher, the baker and even the candlestick maker moved out a long time ago.

With just 10 houses, it is one of the smallest parishes in the entire country, but residents in Wilksby are celebrating a big, big bonus - from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Lottery has handed over development funding of £13,500 which will go towards a project to keep the historic village church open.

The church - All Saints - is much-loved and a focal point for four rural villages, Wilksby, Wood Enderby, Moorby and Claxby Pluckacre.

The money will help the Parochial Church Council progress plans to apply for a full Lottery grant at a later date.

Churchwarden Ian Scard said: “The local community are all quite delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us the support to ensure that All Saints does not suffer the same fate as other local churches.

“The news has given us all a spring in our step as we move towards organising events throughout the summer and autumn to both use and support the church.”

Plans are being made to re-roof the building and carry out other improvements, including new heating and lighting systems.

Mr Scard added: “The idea is to make the church a more welcoming and versatile space, not just for services but for other events centred around heritage and other activities.”

Like must rural communities, church-goers saw regular Sunday services at All Saint’s end several years ago.

Mr Scard added: “We regularly get between 16 and 20 people at services and there is a really strong community spirit.”

Records show a church has stood on the present site for more than 800 years.

In 1785, Sir Joseph Banks commissioned an artist called Nattes to make pencil drawings of local churches, including All Saints.

The small thatched structure was demolished soon afterwards and replaced with the present building two years later.

The new structure cost around £100 to build, including a south facing wall constructed with bricks from Tattershall Castle.

The churches in nearby Wood Enderby and Moorby were made redundant towards the end of the 1970s and the church at Claxby Pluckacre is recorded as having falling down in 1748.