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