Category Archive 'Tillingham'

18 Dec 2010

Ecclesiastical Vandalism

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Daily Mail reports on the conflict arising from some unwelcome plans for modernization in a 12th century Essex church.

Worshippers at a 12th century village church have launched a bitter battle to oust their vicar.

Some members of the congregation at St Nicholas Church in Tillingham, Essex, are ‘at war’ with vicar Lorna Smith, claiming that her modernisation plans will be the ‘ruination’ of the historic church.

A petition has been started calling for the Reverend Lorna Smith to quit her post as vicar after she pushed ahead with proposals to rip the pews and replace them with informal plastic chairs, dig up the floor and install underground heating.

Anne Burden, 72, a parishioner, said: ‘I simply can’t believe people can come into our village and do this to our church.

‘There have been little nicks in the picture going on since she has been here, but undoubtedly its got worse since she proposed the removal of the pews.

‘Nobody took it seriously at first when they heard but now I think she wants wall to wall carpets and to turn the place into a social centre.

‘I feel so very sad when I think about it – we were a united congregation before and people from the village who are not churchgoers all got involved with the upkeep.

‘It was a beautiful church which was at the heart of the village now that has all changed.’

The building boasts a Norman Nave and 14th century bell tower and is regarded by English Heritage as a good example of a traditional country parish church.

Mrs Smith is thought to have joined the historic church about five years ago but has divided opinion among worshippers when she backed the Parochial Church Council’s plans to modernise the building.

The Friends of St Nicholas have already raised around £20,000 towards the modernisation plans – which include removing the Victorian pews in favour of more informal seating, installing underfloor heating, building a kitchen, toilet and gallery meeting room under the bell tower.

But the scheme has been met with horror by some villagers and led to a day-long Consistory Court hearing which ruled in favour of the changes to the church.


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