The Collegiate Church of Holy Trinity

Tattershall, Lincolnshire

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Julia Hanmer

Joint Chief Executive, Bat Conservation Trust

Place of Worship
The Collegiate Church of Holy Trinity
About
A church which dominates the Fenlands and continues to fulfil its original mission.
Location
Tattershall, Lincolnshire LN4 4LR
Denomination
Church of England
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In Holy Trinity the congregation are trying to balance the needs of space for worship, community use and the protection of a historic building and its valuable contents with the protection of bat roosts – not an easy task!

I would like to nominate the Collegiate Church of Holy Trinity in Tattershall as my favourite church in the UK. I am hugely impressed by the work everyone at Holy Trinity is doing to live alongside the bats in their church. I know this hasn’t been easy, but they have worked hard to find solutions for the issues caused by the large pipistrelle colony and other bats present. I also really appreciate how the church is working closely with the local bat group, Bat Conservation Trust and Natural England, such as opening their doors for volunteer training events. I think this hard work, creativity and partnership working is worth celebrating. Many of the UK’s 17 breeding species of bats are still recovering from dramatic declines in their populations caused by man-made changes in the landscape over the last century. These changes include agricultural intensification, habitat loss through development and a decrease in availability of natural roosting sites.

Today, bats in the UK have adapted to using buildings for shelter. At the Bat Conservation Trust we recognise the importance of church buildings to bat conservation. We also know that living with bats is not always easy, and large roosts can create problems through the accumulation of droppings and urine.

In Holy Trinity the congregation are trying to balance the needs of space for worship, community use and the protection of a historic building and its valuable contents with the protection of bat roosts – not an easy task! The church is very actively used for worship and receives 30,000 visitors annually because of its unique architecture and history. What makes the Holy Trinity of Tattershall, and the people looking after it, so remarkable is their generous attitude and patient tolerance towards the resident bats. They certainly provide a commendable contribution to the conservation of bats in the UK. But equally importantly, they shine a light on how congregations can find ways to share their place of worship with bats, discover what magnificent creatures they are, and turn round perceptions of bats from being a nuisance to being an asset. This is why I would like to nominate the Collegiate Church of Holy Trinity as my favourite church.

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