Wednesday the parish church of St. Mary’s, near Skegness, was re-opened after restoration. The church a very tine specimen of Gothic architecture, but the exact date its erection unknown. A church at Winthorpe is first spoken of in the year 1256, when William de Kyme bequeathed it the Abbey of Bardney. The present structure is not so old. It consists of tower, nave, north and south aisles, and porch on the south side. The nave supported by five pointed arches either side. has embattled parapet, in which, at the eastern end, there is a small ornamental arch, probably intended for the sanctus bell, used before the Reformation. The tower surrounded by an embattled parapet, with four pinnacles at the angles. In the centre is a small spire. The porch surrounded with embattled parapet adorned with pinnacles, and has some nice carving in front.
The exterior renovation has been confined to the porch, south aisle, and chancel. Wherever defective in these parts the stone-work has been restored. An ornamental cross over the south porch has been replaced where one formerly stood, a damaged pinnacle on the right will give place to a new one. The tracery in the porch windows has been carefully renewed. Other pinnacles and crosses have also been replaced. The large window at the cast end entirely new, and the east wall of the chancel has been re built. The whole the chancel windows have been glazed with tinted cathedral glass and two new ridges of a one placed on the upper part of the side walls. new has been placed in the chancel, and the benches the nave and aisles have been restored. New altar cloths have keen provided, also a new communion rail. The restoration makes the building very complete. It is mainly owing the exertions of Mrs. Walls, Boothby Hall, that the renovation has taken place. The work has been executed by Mr. Lilley, of Bolingbroke, under the supervision the architect, Mr. Smith, Adlphi, London. The Bishop of Lincoln preached on Wednesday morning ; Canon Sanderson. Vicar, in the afternoon ; and the Rev. Canon Disbrowe, Rector of Benington, in the evening. After the morning service a luncheon was provided in barn belonging to the late Mr. Dring. The following clergymen were amongst those present:—The Bishop of Lincoln ; the Rev. R. G. Walls, the chair; Rev. Canon Sanderson, Vicar; Rev. P. Case, Curate ; Rov. J. Jowitt, of Alford; Rev.Thos.Skelton, Principal, of St. Paul’s Mission-house, Burgh ; Rev. A. G. S. Gibson, Viceprincipal of St. Paul’s Mission-house; Rev. J. Bond, Hector ; Rev. J. Dunning; Rev. Crawford Bromheai, Chaplain at Kensington Palace; Rev, J. S. Ladds, Rector of West Keal.
At the conclusion of luncheon the Bishop, who was asked to speak, said wished to express his very great thankfulness to God for being able to present that auspicious day. He felt sure they would all join with him in expressing gratification that they had seen restore I that old and interesting church, although the times had been those of agricultural depression, and although many difficulties stood in the way.
Having done that, it was their duty to acknowledge the zeal and earnestness with which the work had been carried forward by one who resided in the ancient hall of Skegness, commonly called Skegness House— Mrs. Walls. (Applause.)
He did not wish to fatter that lady, but he thought that, after thanking Almighty God for his good work, they ought to express their acknowledgements to those whom He had used His favoured instruments in bringing the work to successful issue. In the second Book of Kings they read of woman, prophet, who was the instrument in God’s hands encouraging a king to do good work. Mrs. Walls had acted the sains part with regard to Winthorpe church ; she had encouraged the work and encouraged the pastor of the parish ; he himself, Bishop of the diocese, had received the greatest encouragement by the heartiness, zeal, discretion, and sound judgement displayed by Mrs. Walls. As he had referred to something sacred, perhaps he might also say something which was rather like a bad pun. There was an ancient historian with which most of his reverend brethren were acquainted—Thucydides—and put into the mouth of an Athenian statesman a certain sentiment to the effect that it did not much signify who were before the city to oppose them as long as they had courageous hearts, ‘because,” he said, “it is not walls but women who make a city.” (Applause.) By inverting that sentiment it would be applicable to the occasion by saying, ” It is women and walls who restored the church.” (Laughter and applause.) He proposed the good health of Mrs. Walls, with “three times three.” (Three hearty cheers were given.)
The Rev. R. G. Walls, in acknowledging the compliment, thanked all present for their attendance, and said that he had never seen anything carried forward with more energy than had been the work of restoration by Mrs. Walls.
Mrs. Walls said that as she was known well in his Lordship’s diocese to be beggar, she thought she ought to thank all present personally for their attendance, and also the many friends who had kindly rendered assistance. Especially was she grateful to the Lord Bishop for his attendance.
This concluded the proceedings.
Source: Stamford Mercury – Friday 02 July 1880