A monumental summer awaits

The Montagu Monuments in the Grade I-listed St Edmund's Church, Warkton
The Montagu Monuments in the Grade I-listed St Edmund's Church, Warkton

A group which restored a set of valuable monuments in Warkton is offering people the opportunity to become volunteer tour guides this summer.

The Montagu Monuments are four 18th and early 19th century memorial sculptures which take pride of place in Grade I listed St Edmund’s Church in Warkton, near Kettering.

Two of them were created by Louis Francois Roubiliac, who is considered to have been one of the greatest sculptors working in 18th century England.

The restoration project was completed in 2014 thanks to a Lottery grant of more than £300,000.

The restoration was undertaken jointly by St Edmund’s Church Parochial Church Council and the Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust - and was managed by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust.

The organisers say that now the restoration is complete, the church and charities are keen for as many people as possible to enjoy Warkton’s hidden treasures.

Michael Jeans, a current volunteer guide, said: “When I first started as a guide for the Warkton Monuments, I was apprehensive and concerned that visitors would know more about the monuments than I did, and that all I would be doing is ‘showing them around’!

“I very quickly realised that in fact our visitors were only there to see these wonderful pieces of work, and they were not there to catch me out.

“Since those early days of guiding, the monuments have become a huge part of my life. I find that I have consciously and unconsciously gained a huge amount of knowledge surrounding the monuments, the sculptors and the people commemorated. I have also met a lot of fascinating and charming people.”

Volunteers will receive free professional training and support in the history and conservation of the monuments from Anne-Marie Sandos MA AMA, the Prince’s Regeneration Trust’s learning and outreach officer.

There will also be training in communications skills for talking to visitors and groups from BLHT’s professional tour guides at Boughton House, the residence of the Duke of Buccleuch.

To see if you would like to get involved download the form and role description at princes-regeneration.org/about-us/recruitment or phone Anne-Marie on 07909 254598.