A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE SPENCER FAMILY AND VIEW THE MAGNIFICENT COLLECTION OF PAINTINGS AND FURNITURE AT ALTHORP, GUIDED BY THE OWNER HIMSELF!
In support of the Heritage Lottery Fund Restoration Project for St Peter’s Church, we have just received a kind proposal from Earl Spencer at Althorp, who is our Patron and whose ancestry is indelibly linked with our church and village. He is offering a guided tour of Althorp, with himself as the guide, for up to 40 people. We have agreed provisionally Sunday 13th December at 2.30pm. Although otherwise closed to the public, Althorp will be decorated for Christmas. The plan is to arrive at Althorp, where coffee and tea will be served, after which Earl Spencer would conduct a tour of the House lasting about an hour.
We are suggesting a donation per head of £15. Tickets are available on a first come first served basis. Cheques should be made payable to Wormleighton PCC Grant Account and sent to Isabella Moore, HLF Project Co-ordinator, Well Cottage, Lower End, Wormleighton, CV47 2XH at the latest by 8th December. All proceeds from this event will support St Peter’s Church conservation projects, which include the repair of the roof and the installation of toilet and servery facilities.
INAUGURAL SERVICE CONDUCTED BY THE BISHOP OF COVENTRY
Following our inaugural event in March to launch St Peter’s Church Conservation project, attended by both the Bishop of Coventry and Earl Spencer, much activity has taken place to ensure that funds are in place for the essential weatherproofing of the church to prevent any more serious deterioration.
HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND SECOND-ROUND APPLICATION
The second-round application has now been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the delivery phase of our project. To be eligible for this funding we had to obtain approval for our project from church authorities, obtain three tenders for the conservation work and undertake a bat survey. The survey revealed that our church is home to a colony of bats. We need therefore to start work before the bat mating season begins!
WORMLEIGHTON SUMMER WALK
A Summer Walk in July was organised to raise funds for our Church. With a start point at St Peter’s, it included delicious afternoon tea served at Wormleighton Grange for the 60+ walkers, who supported the event.
ENCOURAGING NEW VISITORS TO OUR CHURCH
A draft leaflet has been produced about the history of the church and surrounding village, which, when second round funding is obtained, swill be printed and distributed to residents, hotels and organisations potentially interested in the church.
A very positive meeting with the Headmaster of Priors Marston School has provided many ideas for planned educational materials, which will encourage school visits to the Church to explore historical events associated with the Church and village. A pilot visit of school children is planned in the early spring. The children will be encouraged to record their visit in a painting or drawing. A prize will be offered to the best work, which will be judged by our local artists, Mrs Annie Robinson and Mrs Jane Williams.
A survey, distributed to 340 local households Wormleighton, Priors Marston, Priors Hardwick, Napton and Fenny Compton, has generated many new ideas for reaching out to a wider cross-section of our local community. These included arts and crafts exhibitions, retreats, historical re-enactments, theatre performances, classical concerts, workshops, lectures, bell ringing, choral performances.
The response rate to the survey of 42% was excellent.
A Project Board formed to oversee the conservation project, comprising the Church Warden, Treasurer, Architect and Project Co-ordinator, meets regularly to monitor progress against planned activities.
SERVERY AND TOILET FACILITIES
The renewed interest in our church, and the potential for greatly enhanced usage, has made a case for the installation of at least basic facilities, including a mains water supply, a modest servery and a WC. These facilities would then provide an area suitable not only for church events but also for other activities and would fulfil our objectives to develop a wider community involvement and attract new visitors to our church. The PCC therefore decided to apply to the National Churches Trust for additional funding to install these facilities and an application was submitted at the end of September. A decision is pending.
THE FRIENDS OF WORMLEIGHTON CHURCH
There is an urgent need now for the creation of a separate body, responsible for the care of the building itself and in particular for raising the not insignificant funds needed for its upkeep and for improving its amenities to make it a place that people want to visit. Many small parishes with historically important church buildings are seeing the need to run things differently than in the past. Although our church’s primary use must remain as a venue for church services, baptisms, weddings, funerals and personal dedication services, as that is the reason why the former inhabitants of our village built it in the first place 900 years ago, we need to take a broader view of what constitutes Christianity, no longer purely measured in service attendance but by many other things that people do to contribute towards the creation of a strong local community, comprising both churchgoers and non-churchgoers. Another aspect of our church and its churchyard is its history and its importance to the local heritage. We envisage therefore the setting up of The Friends of Wormleighton Church, with an extended membership and influential patrons reaching beyond the boundaries of our surrounding area in South Warwickshire to other parts of the United Kingdom and beyond. If you are interested in joining The Friends of Wormleighton, please contact Jeremy Wheeler, Churchwarden and PCC Secretary, St Peter’s Church, Wormleighton, Tel. 01327 264 330, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org