Some good had come out of an “evil war” was the message to Belgian refugees living in Spalding.
Father Clement Tyek said one of the good things is that “we have in our midst some clever and skilful men”.
As a result of the men being in the town there were “some beautiful works of sculpture”, he said.
Several churches and private houses had carvings created by the men, as a permanent memorial of the war.
A holy Rood of large dimensions had been fixed in Gosberton Parish Church and beautiful work had been done in the parish church of Walpole. Spalding Gentlemen’s Society building had “become a real picture”, and the facade and back of St Norbert’s Church had also been considerably improved.
Father Clement had accompanied one of the Belgian sculptors to Burghley House, where some carving was to be carried out, and where they found three large tapestries which had been made by Belgian refugees a hundred years earlier, “so that history repeats itself”.
There were 200,000 Belgian refugees in England at that time, and the report stated that the Belgians were “well liked and much thought of”.
The Belgian refugees of Spalding had written of their experience of being in this country and expressed gratitude for Spalding’s hospitality.
They wrote: “It was hard for us, very hard, to have to leave our native soil, drenched with the blood of our fathers, brothers, husbands. Every one of us passed through an ordeal of sufferings and sorrows. Our homes were devastated, our husbands and brothers shot or taken prisoner, our priests infamously maltreated or massacred; our churches, our homes, plundered, burned down , destroyed; our savings, our food supplies, our cattle taken away.”