View Sleaford’s parish church as you’ve never seen it before

Some of the members of the Sleaford knitting group with Marion Sander of ArtsNK at the cathedral with their creation. EMN-170815-122011001
Some of the members of the Sleaford knitting group with Marion Sander of ArtsNK at the cathedral with their creation. EMN-170815-122011001

Sleaford’s parish church, immortalised in wool, has taken pride of place in an exhibition just opened at Lincoln Cathedral.

St Denys’ Church is one of six of the county’s iconic churches – all fabricated from the wool of the county’s iconic Lincoln Longwool sheep – brought together for the first time at the cathedral.

The display of knitted churches marks the culmination of Woolly Spires, a Lincolnshire-wide project led by North Kesteven District Council’s arts outreach team at artsNK.

Featuring the main churches of Louth, Boston, Spalding, Sleaford and Grantham as well as Stow Minster in West Lindsey, each of Lincolnshire’s rural districts are represented, giving universal appeal to the show.

The project takes its inspiration from the fact that many of Lincolnshire’s Medieval churches were funded by wealthy landowners whose fortunes were made through the thriving wool trade – built quite literally on the backs of Lincoln Longwool Sheep whose fleeces have been used exclusively in the crafting of these churches.

Over the last seven years, teams of knitters in each district area have been clicking, purling, slipping, felting, crocheting and having a good old yarn as they build up woollen walls, windows, spires and steeples to slip over a scale wooden model of each church.

Featured in astonishing detail, St Denys’, created by Valerie Allen, Sheila Shepherd, Yvonne Simpson, Dawn Thompson, Audrey Tomlinson and Pat Wing, was the first. This church celebrates the notable local Carre family, wool merchants extrordinaire.

Coun Lindsey Cawrey, who launched the cathedral show as North Kesteven’s Executive Board member for arts and culture, said there could be ‘no more fitting rendering of some of our most beautiful churches’.

They are in the South Transept of the Cathedral, subject to usual admission charges.