For much of 2020, the doors of our church remained closed because of the coronavirus emergency. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the 18th century roof on the chantry chapel.
National importanceThis chapel, which was probably a 13th century addition to the church, is home to four sandstone tombs dating as far back as 1290. Those to a cross-legged knight and lady are usually attributed to a senior judge, Sir Richard de Willoughby and his wife. The alabaster monuments, which are considered to be of national importance, include the tomb of another Sir Richard de Willoughby, 1362, also senior judge, and of his son, yet another Sir Richard de Willoughby, 1369, shown as a recumbent knight. The central tomb is of Sir Hugh de Willoughby and his second wife Margaret Freville, 1448.
These monuments are at risk from damp and from direct leaks which threaten to dissolve the alabaster. The church architect has recommended the complete replacement of the roof and consolidation of the timber structure. In view of the significance of the chapel, permission was required from Rushcliffe Borough Council and from the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. This was eventually granted at the start of November 2020.
The church has reserved funds towards the repair and, in the course of lockdown, applications have been made to various grant-making bodies. Several fund-raising events, planned for 2020, had to be cancelled because of Covid-19 but in the coming months we must turn to the people of Willoughby for support in preserving our heritage for our children and grandchildren.