A major phase of work to restore Epworth Old Rectory to how it looked more than 300 years ago has been completed.
The ambitious scheme reached a milestone when work to upgrade the exterior of the Grade I listed building was completed and scaffolding removed last week.
This was all part of a wider £2 million project to restore the building to how it looked three centuries ago when it was the residence of the Wesley family.
Reverend Claire Potter, curator of the rectory’s museum, said: “The outside looks much better than it did and it is certainly a milestone in the project. It is now in a far better state than it was.”
The work has included repairing and reappointing walls, installing historic chimney pots and repairs to the roof.
In addition, rotten timbers to the top dormer windows have been sensitively repaired in order to complete almost all of the external decoration.
The latest repairs have coincided with additional work to the interior of the building.
The ‘Putting the hearth back into the home’ project involved restoring the main chimney stack and opening up the fireplaces in the main entrance hall and the fore-kitchen.
Fireside cupboards, which have been sealed for many years, have also been opened and restored.
The redevelopment work cost around £80,000 and comprises of the first phase of the major development plans called ‘Welcome Home’.
The whole scheme is estimated to cost up to £2 million and would see internal walls being knocked through, under floor heating and the construction of a new visitor centre.
Rev Potter said; “The plan is to complete the scheme in five stages. We had funding for this part and now we are applying to other bodies to try and get funding for the next phases. We are also appealing for public donations and holding fund raisers.
“It is an ambitious project but if we manage to get it all together then it will look amazing.”
The money has so far been provided through a range of funding streams including North Lincolnshire Council’s LEADER programme, an endowment fund which had been collected by supporters in America and donations from Friends of Epworth Old Rectory.
The Rectory was the former residence of Samuel Wesley and his wife Susanna in the early part of the 18th century. They brought up their sons there, John and Charles Wesley, who developed the Methodist movement.