St Thomas the Apostle, North Willingham

St Thomas the Apostle, North Willingham

North Willingham is a small rural village situated on the western escarpment of the Lincolnshire Wolds with an adult population of approximately 107.  Much of the Parish in the east lies within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in the west the parish extends to the popular Willingham Woods. The Church of St Thomas the Apostle has a monthly Holy Communion service and additional services at Christmas and Harvest. The church community prides itself on its warm and friendly welcome to all visitors and organises the majority of social events in the village such as the summer barbecue and the “get togethers” with refreshments which take place after the most popular services.

The church is usually open during daylight hours. All visitors are welcome.

Location

St Thomas’ Church stands in an imposing position with extensive frontage along the main A631 road running from Market Rasen to Louth as it passes through North Willingham village. The postcode is LN8 3RJ.

History

The church of St Thomas the Apostle is largely built of Lincolnshire greenstone with a Westmorland slate roof. The first written record of a church in North Willingham dates from 1160 and it is believed that the present tower dates from the 13th century. It is thought to have been heightened with ironstone in the 14th century when the bell openings on the topmost storey were added. A large Perpendicular style window in the west wall was then probably added in the 15th century. 

The church was rebuilt in 1777 in the classical Georgian style by Ayscoghe Boucherett of Willingham Hall and the top of the tower was rebuilt by the architect C H Fowler in 1895 adding the present battlements and pinnacles.

The church remains a very good example of a simple Georgian church. The west doorway has a semi-circular head and the east window is in the Venetian style that was popular in Georgian times with a semi-circular headed central window flanked by two rectangular lights.  On sunny days these and the numerous other Georgian windows flood the church with light through the simple pastel coloured stained glass. The inside walls are of plain painted plaster and the ceilings of the nave and chancel are similarly plastered and have a dentillated cornice. A notable feature is the wooden panelled Georgian West Gallery, again with a dentillated cornice and which is set on slender squared columns.

Amongst the numerous graves in the Churchyard is that of Emilia “Jessie” Boucherett 1825-1905 of Willingham Hall who has become increasingly recognised for her very significant role in the early women’s movement. Observing the lack of opportunities for women in the mid 19th Century she set up The Society for Promoting the Employment of Women in 1859 which pioneered the provision of women's training opportunities. She was an early promoter of the women’s suffrage movement and a strong supporter of the Married Women’s Property Act passed in 1870. She founded the Englishwomen’s Review in 1866 and was co-founder of the Woman’s Suffrage Journal in 1870.



How to find us
North Willingham, St Thomas the Apostle, LN8 3HL
53°22’43.1”N    0°15’06.8”W