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Bilney News

A Flower festival and Open weekend was held at St Cecilia's, West Bilney,

on Saturday & Sunday 20th & 21st June 2015.
On show were some of the historic books  belonging to the church, together with a mini flower festival with the theme of music

see more here

The Open Weekend at St. Cecilia's church on 27th -28th July 2013 turned out to be  really interesting. Lottery funding had been obtained to celebrate the life of Elizabeth Freke (d. 1714) and her relationship with "her" church, and to involve the community in the history of their village.

The graveyard had been mown, the church cleaned, and the sun shone through the clear glass windows onto window boxes of petunias and lavender. Wonderful things were on show, and two enormous 18th and 19th century maps of the parish attracted even more interest than the chalice and ewer which Elizabeth had given to the church. Old photos, old press reports, stone age tools and the amazing early 18th century bier drew and kept the crowds. Some people stayed all day, sharing memories with old friends and enjoying the delicious refreshments.

The County archeologist, who had arrived to lecture on medieval West Bilney, nearly fainted with astonishment as, looking through a box of oddments found with a metal detector, he identified a Saxon girdle hanger showing evidence of being only part finished - thus suggesting that in the 6th century there might have been a local workshop. There were also fascinating lectures about the way in which Percy Freke's funeral would have been conducted and the enormous cost of it, and about the exciting discoveries Nadfas church recorders make. 

At the morning Sunday service we sang the hymns that Elizabeth might have known, and the Reader spoke of her vision that the gathering of the community, past and present, round the ancient, small, and much altered church might keep alive both a community and a holy spirit. In the afternoon the Baroque Belles - Sylvia and Clare - performed  music contemporary with Elizabeth's life.

The discoveries of the weekend hinted at many things that need further investigation. Where was the old moated manor? Did the Roundheads bombard Pentney Abbey from Bilney woods? How old is the carved head in the tower?  And, of course, How can we build on this success? So the weekend is only a beginning; a starting point for further discoveries.  Many thanks to the people who made it so special.

Many people have contributed a large amount of  useful information, documents and photographs. In due course it is intended to post a good deal of this information on this website. Eventually it is hoped to bring as much as possible together into an album.

In the meantime we continue to research the history of the church and of West Bilney. If you have anything that you  think might be of interest please let us know - we should very much like to hear from you.

Some may remember that at the open event at the church, there were two large scale maps of Bilney on display. These maps have now been photographed with the intention that they will be posted on this web site and hopefully that a large print will be made.
 The maps were kindly loaned by Mr Velzeboer.
The photographs here show the maps being prepared for the photo shoot at the village hall.


NADFAS have now completed a survey of the church and a first copy of their report is in the hands of the PCC. This is a very comprehensive survey of the whole of the interior of the

church. The survey includes details about memorials, stonework, paintings, fabrics, and so on and is certain to be the most comprehensive survey ever made of the church.

A number of photographs which form part of the NADFAS survey report are now posted on this web site - see here.

A brief guide to the church may be seen here

A similar survey has been completed at All Saints, East Winch.



See the results here

The photographing, subsequent processing and final printing of the maps has now been completed.
Examples of the maps may now be seen here, with details of how to obtain copies if you so wish.