Within 50 miles of Southwell there are hundreds of old churches, some big, some small, some special, some not so special, but every one has a unique story to tell, both within its fabric and in the social history of the generations of local lords, vicars and ordinary people who have contributed to the making of the church as we see it today.
We meet monthly, between March and October, usually at the end of the month. We visit three or four churches each trip out, and have lunch together in a pub or café, or bring a picnic during the warmer months.
We often meet local people who can talk to us about their churches and sometimes we are offered tea/coffee and biscuits.
We’ve been going since 2013, during which time we’ve visited more than 300 churches, including many awarded star ratings in the Church Crawlers “bible”, England’s Thousand Best Churches by Simon Jenkins.
There are around 40 members registered with the Group and typically around 20 will come on a trip. Transport is by members’ cars but we try to ensure that cars travel with as few empty seats as possible.
Group Visits for 2023
The Group monthly visits for 2023 start on 29 March with a trip to the Rutland/Lincs border and scroll down to see the list of churches we plan to visit this year. Note that itineraries may change depending on detailed planning of trips and trips may be cancelled if extreme weather is forecast.
If anyone is interested in joining us please contact the leaders, Chris Bentley or Daniel Giugno (contact details in "Members' Section")
Stars on the itineraries are the gradings awarded in England’s Thousand Best Churches (Simon Jenkins).
Our Planned itineraries for 2023:
29 March (Wed) : Stretton, Clipsham,Little Bytham, Careby
28 April (Fri): Holme* (see photo above) , Collingham (2), South Scarle
31 May (Wed): Wirksworth***, South Wingfield, Crich
30 June (Fri): Threekingham, Swaton**, Horbling, Billingborough
31 July (Mon): Skirbeck, Boston*****, Freiston
29 August (Tue): Marton, Lea, Gainsborough*, Corringham*
28 September (Thurs): Dale**, Morley***, Breadsall
25 October (Wed): Welbourne, Navenby**, Coleby
Virtual Church Visits: A valuable legacy of "Covid"!
Having agreed an interesting programme of monthly visits for the year the Church Visiting Group was scuppered by the Covid Lockdown. These "Virtual Trip" were an enterprising alternative, and, along with an "educational" quiz on church architecture which most members found too difficult, resulted in the group maintaining its interest during "lockdown".
With normal visiting now resumed, it seems a shame not to share this wonderful resource.
Think you might be interested in joining this group?
1. If you are not already a member of Southwell U3A but are interested in finding out more about this group and/or would like to attend one of their group meetings please click on the Contact Us link and let us know. We will arrange for the Group Leader to get in touch with you as soon as possible.
2. If you are already a member of Southwell U3A and are interested in joining this group you can contact the Group Leader directly. Their details are in the Group Leaderspage in our Membership Area of the website. As a Southwell U3A member you will have received the password for the Members Area pages in Newsline. If you have forgotten the password please use the Contact Usfacility on this website to request the password.
View the slideshow of the Group's 2018 visit to Laxton below
Members of the Church Visiting Group learn about the history of Laxton church (Notts) 2018
High summer at Bradley church in Derbyshire, 2018
What the Group did in 2017 In 2017 we went out monthly between February and October, visiting 45 churches in all. The oldest church visited was Barnack, near Stamford with its fine Saxon tower. We also visited Castor near Peterborough, a grand church with possibly the best Norman church tower in the country. Other highlights included Steetley near Worksop, Clifton Campville near Lichfield, Algarkirk (Lincs), Ault Hucknall (Derbys), Marholm near Peterborough, Staunton Harold (Leics) and Stamford St Martin’s with its lovely Tudor glass and Lord Burleigh’s magnificent tomb. We should offer our thanks and appreciation for the many vicars, churchwardens and other local volunteers who welcomed us to their churches, sometimes with a cup of tea or coffee as well. Special mention should go to those who welcomed us at Alrewas (Staffs), Sutton Scarcliffe (Derbys), Bicker (Lincs), Clifton Campville, and Algarkirk. At Alrewas we even had bell ringers to greet us!