Willington, St Lawrence

The Church

St Lawrence's in Willington is an important early Tudor church built or rebuilt in the late 1530s by Sir John Gostwick, a protégé of both Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell.

The church was listed Grade II in 1964, but this does not adequately reflect its historical, architectural and artistic significance, and it is recommended that the grading should be reviewed.

The church stands in a large graveyard on the edge of the village, near the site of Sir John’s former mansion (now demolished) and close to a large dovecote and stables built in 1541, now in the care of the National Trust and listed Grade I.

The church contains Sir John Gostwick’s tomb and two major seventeenth century tombs of his descendants, with sculpture by Maximilian Colt (master carver to King James I) and Edward Marshall.

It was restored and largely refitted in the 1870s by the architect Henry Clutton, who introduced elaborate tiling in the chancel, the design of which is influenced by the Aesthetic Movement.

The Bats

Extensive scattered droppings from pipistrelle and brown long-eared bats are found throughout the church, with a concentration beneath the roost at the rear of the nave. There are numerous roosts throughout the main body of the church, with the bats constantly changing location.

Several deflector boards have previously been erected inside the church and extensive droppings are visible on all of these. The church is cleaned weekly, but both services and community activities are disrupted by droppings and smell when bats are active.

Upcoming events

If you’d like to contact or find out more about the church, visit their page on A Church Near You