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St. Helen's audio guide

Paul Cragg talking to Nicola Penn-Allison
during his fund raising all around seven churches
June 20th 2020 -

Paul Cragg talking to BBC Radio Lincolnshire's Rod Whiting June 20th 2020

St. Helen’s Church stands in the centre of the village, easily visible as one passes through and is an integral part of village life. There is a regular pattern of Sunday services which are well attended and services are held for special feast days, baptisms, weddings and funerals for local people. The Church has six bells in the tower and there is a team of enthusiastic ringers who ring before services and practise every Wednesday evening. We also have a choir who sing at services and by request at special occasions. We welcome new members at our practices on Tuesday evenings. The Church is managed by a Parochial Church Council which helps with the services and organises many of the social events in the village. These events also help to raise money for the upkeep of a very beautiful church. St.Helen’s is one of seven Churches which form The Saxilby/Stow Group.
The Building

The village of Willingham is mentioned four times in the Domesday book and whilst there is evidence that the church has stood here for many centuries, the St Helens which you see now is largely a Victorian building. It was restored in 1880 by Mrs Reynard in memory of her husband who was Rector here from 1875 to 1878

Evidence of an earlier building comes from:

Church registers dating back to 1562, which up to 1594, record every baptism, marriage and burial service held in the church
Parts of the tower are clearly mediaeval and in the west wall is a round topped Norman window
On the outside of the north wall you can see a blocked off mediaeval door and the archway of the porch is of the same period
Inside the church some of the pew ends towards the back display medieval woodcarving, but St Helens finest relic is perhaps the basin of the font which, with its sculpted pattern of interlaced arcading, dates from Norman times

The organ with its 16 stops was installed in 1883 and converted to electricity earlier this century. There are six bells in the tower, weighing in total just under two tons(2000 kg) three of them were recast in 1905. Ages are individually inscribed and dated back to 1660. The stained-glass east window is a memorial to the Hawke family. The Rev Lord Hawke was Rector here from 1853 two 1874. His son however, was perhaps better remembered for his cricketing prowess, having played for, and Captained Yorkshire, and then went on to play for the MCC.

Willingham no longer has its own Rector but is part of the Stow group of parishes with St Mary’s, Coates, Sturton, and more recently, Torksey
“Most of the time at church we are like a big happy family. However even in very happy families people can have a bad day and even people we know and trust can upset us. We want to help everyone have good days all of the time. We try to make sure that people who have jobs in the church always behave well and in a way that is helpful to you. We never want anyone or anything in church to frighten you, confuse you or worry you. It is important that you tell us if something is upsetting you or if you are feeling worried about something that’s happening or something somebody is doing. We have specially trained people who you can talk to and who you can ask for help. These people are good at safeguarding. This means they look after everyone’s safety. Caring for people is a very important part of our Christian life.
The people who can help you are the parish priest or the parish safeguarding officer. You can contact the safeguarding officer, Barbara Bussey or the parish priest – Reverend Jane Foster-Smith. If you wish to speak to someone outside the church you can contact the diocesan safeguarding team – their contact details are available 
here. There is also information there about other places from where you can get help or advice" 
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Priest in charge - Reverend Jane Foster-Smith

Tel :
Email -

Church Wardens

Barbara Bussey: 01427788425
Mary Hutchinson: 01427788619

Pattern of services

1st Sunday in the month 10.30 At St Mary' Stow
2nd Sunday in the month 10.30 At St Helen's Willingham
3rd Sunday in the month 10.30 St Mary's Stow
4th Sunday in the month 10.30 At St Helen's Willingham
5th Sunday in the month 10.30 Group service. Held at Willingham on a rota basis

Willingham by Stow, Lincolnshire
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