An appeal has been launched by members of a rural church to raise up to £9,000 for a car park to service worshippers and visitors to a planned heritage centre there.
Work has already begun to renovate St Bartholomew’s Church at Welby, on the outskirts of Melton, and create the tourist feature, which will be dedicated to the lost Medieval village which once thrived there.
The scheme received a donation of £140,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund earlier this year but public donations are now required to pay for the car park because grant providers do not usually contribute to them.
Miranda Willder, a spokesperson for the church, said: “Having obtained a Heritage lottery Fund grant to restore the building and build a toilet and form the heritage centre we are now in desperate need of money to fund the materials to provide a much needed car park.
“The church is located on a very narrow lane and it is extremely precarious parking on the grass verges.
“We are very grateful to Harworth Estates, who own the field opposite the church, who have given us permission to form a car park. We estimate that we need between £8000 and £9,000 to provide the fencing and materials required.”
Th village at Welby was once a significant settlement and its church was mentioned in the Doomsday Book. In the 1500s, Lord of the Manor, William Digby, cleared most of the village and after his death in 1610 he was charged in the Court of the Star Chamber by the Attorney General with the depopulation of Welby.
The area has real historical interest, particularly with the discovery of the Welby Bronze Age Hoard which is now displayed at Melton Carnegie Museum.
The heritage centre will show an artist’s impressions of the Medieval village and there will be depictions of Lord Digby, people at work and other resources for adults and children who visit.
Ms Willder added: “We hope that the work on the church will be completed at the beginning of October but we will not be able to promote the use of the building without the car park.”