The History of the Village
Cherry Willingham lies some 2 miles east of Lincoln and is recorded in the Domesday Book. Reference to the 1907 Ordinance Survey map shows that it was still little more than a hamlet; indeed it remained quite small until after World War 2. Most visitors to the village today will simply see a community that has grown dramatically since the 1950s and today has a population of around 4,000 with some 1,800 dwellings.
However, there have been many finds in the village and surrounding area from the Iron Age, through the Romans and Anglo-Saxon eras, and the medieval period to the 19th century. A significant amount of material excavated at our near neighbour Fiskerton is on display at The Collection in Lincoln.
There has been a manor house since at least AD 1086 although the present building is more modern. It is believed that there has also been a church in the village for many centuries; the current one is a fine and rare example from AD1753. In the last few years, much work has been undertaken to save and restore a medieval fish pond which was probably attached to the original manor house.
The village is set in the context of the Witham Valley with its key monastic sites nearby and the growth in importance of Lincoln itself. These are significant for the history and heritage of Cherry Willingham.
The Village Today
The village does have a rural feel but its proximity to, and links with, Lincoln are key factors in shaping the village and its services & facilities. This means that there are a limited number of retail outlets and other public services in the village whilst it acts as a dormitory for those of working age employed in the City and surrounding areas. This means also that we do not envisage any significant growth in these services and facilities. It is served by a regular day-time bus service (not Sundays or evenings) which facilitates access for residents to Lincoln.
In addition to the houses/bungalows/flats in the village there is a residential care home and some sheltered housing for older residents. The composition of village housing stock makes it an ideal location for retired folk who represent around 1/3rd of residents – well above the national average.
The needs of children and young people from the village and surrounding area are met by the Primary and Community Schools, the Children’s Centre, the Youth Centre located on the Community School site and various voluntary organisations with their facilities such as the Scout Hut.
There is a Parish Church, home to the Anglican congregation, while the Methodist and Vine Community Churches use community buildings for their activities. The village is also well-served by a wide range of voluntary and sports organisations. The Village Hall is shared by residents of the village and those of Reepham and is located between the two villages. There is a Church Hall available for use by the community close to the Millennium Hall (former Methodist Chapel) which houses the Parish Council.
Adjacent to the Primary School there is a playing field shared by football, cricket and bowls clubs alongside a children’s play area/open space. There are two more children’s play areas in other parts of the village. The Community School has a wide range of sports facilities including a sports hall and 3G pitches.
The Parade provides a doctor’s surgery, public library, a number of retail and take-away outlets and a pub. There is also another pub and a further take-away in the village.
Responsibility for many of the public services lies with the three Councils with administrative responsibility for the area i.e. Cherry Willingham Parish Council, West Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire County Council. At a local level the Parish Council, itself consisting of volunteer residents, has been working to improve village facilities and its appearance.
Through an active Association, the village is twinned with Le Grand Luce in France. Regular exchange visits take place.
Further information about the village past and present can be found on the following web-sites:
Cherry Willingham Parish Council: http://parishes.lincolnshire.gov.uk/CherryWillingham/
Cherry Willingham Heritage Society: http://community.lincolnshire.gov.uk/cherrywillinghamheritage/