Churchwarden Bryan Bargh with the discarded mattress.
Thieves targeted The Holy Cross Church on Dallygate, Great Ponton, between last Wednesday and Monday, stealing 16 rolls of lead from the roof.
Churchwarden Bryan Bargh discovered the theft when he opened up on Monday.
He said: “I knew something was wrong as soon as I entered as I could see the sky through the holes in the roof.”
It is not the first time that the church has fallen victim to thieves.
Bryan, who has been the churchwarden for four years, added: “This is the fourth time in 15 years that the church has been targeted and lead has been stolen each time. Last time it was taken, it was actually traced back to a scrapyard in Grantham.”
After surveying the scene inside, Bryan walked around the church grounds and discovered two discarded mattresses. He added: “We think they were used by the thieves to throw the lead on to. The second mattress was further away, so they may have also used it to move the lead.”
A builder has now a fixed a temporary cover in place but Bryan is concerned about the overall cost to repair the roof permanantly, adding: “I am still waiting to find out how much it will cost to fix the damage. Until then we have to rely on a temporary cover. We have rolled up the carpet and moved the alter but that is all we can do for now.”
The Grade I listed church, dedicated to the Holy Cross, was built in the 13th century, and its tall pinnacled tower added in 1519 by Anthony Ellys, a wool merchant who lived in nearby Ellys Manor House. The church features a weather vane that depicts a gilded fiddle and is among a total of nine listed buildings in the village, six of them residential.
The church is still used for monthly services, meetings, weddings and baptisms.
Brian is hopeful that the lead can still be traced. He added: “Each roll has a Great Ponton marking on it, so it should not be difficult to distinguish.”
Police visited the church on Wednesday to survey the scene and ask nearby neighbours if they had witnessed anything.
A spokesman for Lincolnshire Police said: “This theft took place between 14 and 19 June. Anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area or has any information should call 101 quoting incident number 323.”