St. Thomas' Church
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St. Thomas' Church in North Willingham stands on the foundations of an earlier church which dates back to the early Middle-Ages, although the majority of the current church was built in the late 18th-century in the Georgian Classical style. As such is one of the few churches in the Lincolnshire Wolds to have been relatively untouched in the attempt to modify places of worship to fit the Gothic style carried out by the Victorians in the 19th century. Also unusually, it is built primarily of green sandstone rather than the brown ironstone that was used to construct the surrounding churches, although the tower is topped with a section of ironstone.

Believed to have originally been constructed in the 13th-century, the ironstone was added to the top of the tower in the 14th, before the church was rebuilt by Ayscough Boucherett (1st) in 1777. It was rebuilt in the Georgian Classical style of the time but the tower from the original Medieval church remained; as has been mentioned, this was made from green sandstone, with only the top of the church tower being constructed from ironstone that was probably added in the 14th century. 

When Ayscough Boucherett (1st) commissioned the rebuilding of the church, the same local sandstone was used as had been 500 years before, meaning that only the increased degree of weathering on the stones reveals that the tower and the stonework near the ground are older than the rest of St. Thomas' church. In fact, the foundations and lowest regions of the stonework were kept intact when the church was rebuilt, thereby dictating what shape the new church could be, hence why the internal design layout is simpler than that of many other Georgian churches.

The addition of ironstone to the top of the 13th-century tower was followed in the 15th century by the creation of a large 'Perpendicular-style' window to the west wall of the tower, just above the entrance to the church itself. At this time the 'Decorated-style' bell openings which can be seen today were also added. After this the next main change to the tower was not until 1777 when the rest of the church was rebuilt, since this was when the large Georgian Classical door in the west wall was installed.

The church's next major alterations occurred in 1895 when the well-known architect C. J. Fowler rebuilt the very top of the tower above the ironstone section, creating new battlements and pinnacles to replace their original predecessors and also carrying out restoration work on the bell openings too. After this the last major repair work was carried out in 1928, when the chancel walls were rendered due to damp and a new organ was added; as a consequence of the draughts caused by this addition, the nearest pew had to be boarded to diminish this effect. At some point after 1848 but before these modifications were carried out, the Victorians replaced the traditional box pews with bench pews, and introduced a font built in the Gothic style to St. Thomas'.

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Last edited on 7th November 2009