EPWORTH’S Old Rectory is set for a major redevelopment to return it to a state that would be more familiar to John Wesley when he lived there.
Members of Epworth Town Council were given a sneak preview of plans for the building, which is more than 300 years old, during their latest meeting.
The Rev Claire Potter explained that funding for enhancements to the Grade I listed building was almost in place.
The enhancements would return the building to the way it looked in about 1716, with period rooms, authentic floors, wall finishes and furnishing appropriate to the period.
Assuring councillors they would be kept informed of developments, she said a crucial feature would be the ‘hearth in a home’. This would involve work on the main chimney stack, which would allow the return of an inglenook and kitchen fire, which could be achieved before next summer.
The work would be carried out behind a screen so visitors could see what was going on. She said this would allow visitors to see the building as the Wesleys had seen it.
Partition walls are also set to be removed. It is hoped to acquire period furniture to replace the 20th-century furnishing currently in the building.
There would also be a recognition of the 21st century in the plans, with the installation of a lift, under-floor heating, new and better toilets and a revamped shop.
Disabled access will also be improved.
“We want to make the whole experience better for visitors,” she said.
Ms Potter said the current plans did not include a visitor centre, car park and signage.
“All of those will be part of a later phase,” she added.
“We want to take people along with us, and to have everyone involved. We want to consult and be as open as possible.”
A meeting involving the Old Rectory trustees, English Heritage, North Lincolnshire Council and conservationists will take place shortly.