Village to save slice of history
Restoration plans have been drawn up to protect a stone dating back at least 800 years so that people can learn about its history.
The priest stone was placed in Winthorpe before the church was built in 1240 and used to mark the spot where the priest performed services including communions, births and funerals.
The chairman of Winthorpe parish council, Mr Steve Jackson, said that when the church was built a cross was secured into the stone with lead to make it a feature.
The Winthorpe stone was moved twice. It was put in its current position, on the village green next to Holme Lane, in the 1840s.
It is not known what happened to the cross, but Mr Jackson believed it could have been destroyed in the Civil War.
The stone was secured on to a brick plinth, but this is now degrading because of frost damage.
He said the plinth would probably last another couple of years and feared that the stone would just fall off.
An attempt had been made to keep the plinth in place by pouring concrete next to it.
Mr Jackson said: “If we are not careful, the whole thing will fall down.
“We want to rebuild the plinth, put slabs at the bottom and put up some cast iron notices so people know what it is.
“It is something that people should know about in their area.”
Mr Bob Cordell (65) of Pocklington Crescent, Winthorpe, is a building design consultant and has lived in the village for seven years. He has volunteered to produce drawings of ways to protect the stone.
He said: “Something must be done to bring back the importance of it. It does really need to be emphasised in the village.”
He said he had often walked past the stone without knowing what it was or what it represented.
His drawings include different styles of plinth and different plaques.
In one plan, there is fencing around three sides of the stone and a grassy area inside the fencing to make it more of an enclosure and a feature of the village.
The drawings will be shown at a Winthorpe parish council meeting this month. Its members have already agreed in principal to the improvement of the plinth.
If they decided the plans were appropriate, planning permission would be sought from Newark and Sherwood District Council because the stone is listed for protection.
Mr Jackson expected the new plinth would cost around £2,000. If and when planning permission is granted, the parish council will look at how to pay for it.
More by this authorPeter Harris
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