Naseby church explores battlefield visitor centre
Earl Spencer will be given a guard of honour by the Bluecoat Regiment of the Sealed Knot English Civil War re-enactment society when he visits Naseby to launch an ambitious project on Sunday 23rd June.
A joint working group has been formed by the Parochial Church Council and the Naseby Battlefield Project to explore redeveloping the thirteenth century church to include a visitor centre for the heritage group and enhanced facilities for the church’s ministry and mission.
As part of the launch programme, a family fun and re-enactment weekend at Naseby village hall will include re-enactments by the Vikings, the Medieval Siege Society and Sealed Knot, together with talks, walks, demonstrations and films.
The Battle of Naseby (14 June 1645) was the pivotal battle of the English Civil War and was fought on open fields in Northamptonshire. It is one of the best preserved and understood of all British battlefields.
Currently there is no focal point for visitors to the battlefield and a location in which to hold educational events, provide information and house artefacts. Both the Church and the Battlefield Project believe that by working together to meet the needs of both parties they can provide a sustainable resource for the benefit of the whole community.
The Archdeacon of Northampton, the Ven. Christine Allsopp, says,
“In the Peterborough Diocese we are encouraging every parish to have its own aspiration to being a growing, viable, serving and worshipping community. That’s why we’re supporting this project which aims to deliver a church building which will enhance worship, be more sustainable and also allow its wider use by the local community as well as visitors to Naseby Battlefield.”
The first task of the new working group, which is chaired by the Diocesan Community Development Officer Bob Purser, and includes three representatives of the Parochial church Council and three from the Naseby Battlefield Project, will be to undertake a feasibility study.
This will include consultation with the local community, and funding for it is currently being sought. It is hoped that the eventual refurbishment of the church, which will take some years to complete, will include a worship and community gathering area, a servery and toilets, and an office and secure display area for battlefield information.
The church is currently undergoing essential major repairs to its fabric, and is temporarily closed for worship until September in order for some of these to take place. Naseby is part of a larger benefice (group of churches) and services are being held elsewhere during the closure.
A fully detailed programme of activities over the 22-23 June weekend is on the Naseby Battlefield Project website at www.naseby.com.