Bringing doves back Home to Roost: church launches unique fundraising campaign

Money raised from the sale of ‘doves’ will provide funds for the restoration of a local church and turn one of the oldest buildings in Nottinghamshire into a striking art installation.

People can buy the life-sized acrylic birds which will then be placed in the nesting niches at the thirteenth century Grade 1 Dovecote in the village Sibthorpe near Newark, birthplace of former Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Secker (1693-1768).

The money raised will enable repairs to the nearby Grade 1 listed St Peter’s Church. On purchase, buyers names will be recorded in a book, leaving an historical record and a permanent installation of a dove.

St Peter’s has already received grant funding for much needed renovation for the spiritual and social needs of the local community, but the building needs money for continuing maintenance.

The Rev’d Liz Murray says: “our ‘Home to Roost’ Campaign is really exciting, using two ancient Grade I listed buildings to bring both alive in the 21st Century. The Dovecote will become a modern art installation with the doves being placed in the nesting places and will again look alive with doves.”

The 30 foot tall Dovecote, which is owned by Nottinghamshire County Council, is all that remains of a medieval collegiate religious complex in Sibthorpe. Adjacent to the church, it housed over 1,200 pigeons in tiny nesting niches perched 24 stories high, and was built by monks in response to a famine of 1360. It was intended to provide an unlimited supply of meat, eggs and a rather smelly fertilizer to safeguard against future starvation. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/sibthorpe-dovecote

The ‘Home to Roost’ Programme is being launched on Saturday July 21st as part of the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham’s Open Churches Weekends, with a variety of events to raise awareness and an opportunity to sponsor a dove. There will be strawberry teas, a plant fair and a presentation to the winner of a special art competition to design a dove, which has been judged by Radio Nottingham and Notts TV presenter, Frances Finn.

“Generations before us have done what it takes to keep our wonderful historic buildings alive. I feel we owe it to generations to come to look after that legacy- getting a dove will be one of our contributions towards that” says Mary-Alice, a Sibthorpe Resident.

David Parton, Chair of Fundraising says: “Even when our ambitious plans to improve the social amenities in our church building are completed we will still need to continue our fundraising efforts.  The fabric of the church itself, parts of which are almost a nine hundred years old, will need a continuing maintenance plan if we are to keep the building in good repair over the years.  Pointing and drainage improvements as well as surface plasterwork and decorations will be as important as keeping an eye on the core structure.”

For more information  https://www.facebook.com/Sibthorpe1148

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More photos  – https://www.dropbox.com/sh/d6o6j6d6yti95wb/AAB1Cpt8XXlqqkHSN9ZSbQVDa?dl=0