April 2022

Willingham is rightly proud of its Parish Church which is a Grade 1 listed building and contains an amazing amount of history – going back to the 1200s. The current church was built on top of an older church probably going back to another 300 years. Some fragments of this can be seen in the porch. What is less well known is that the building had been allowed to descend into serious dis-repair due to a series of “absent” Rectors in Victorian times. These men just took the tithes and money but spend little or no time in the village. This fuelled the rise in non-conformist churches such as the Baptist and Methodists. The arrival of Rev Watkins in 1890’s changed all this. He lived in the village and invested his own money in restoring the church to what we see today. The entire East end had to be re-built and this month’s photo, taken during this work, shows how bad the old building had become. The maintenance of the building is still the responsibility of the local village and not the Church of England and it is an expensive task.