SADDENED church officials say they might be forced to consider locking the doors to the parish church in Gedney after vandals smashed memorials inside.
Hymn books and masonry were also thrown around inside St Mary Magdalene Church and graffiti put in the visitors’ book during the attack, which happened during the day on Sunday.
Churchwarden William Webb said: “It’s sheer vandalism.
“We do not think anything has been stolen but a Victorian memorial has been badly damaged and some of the masonry thrown about.
“It’s another case of our dear church being desecrated. Just recently we have had the lead bottoms of the guttering stolen from outside the church and we had a major incident a few years ago when the windows were smashed.
“We find it extremely disappointing and sad that people should want to inflict damage on an ancient monument.”
The damage was discovered as the church was about to be locked up for the evening at 6pm. The church had been open to visitors since 9am.
A memorial dated 1840 for Robert Willington Gent suffered the most damage during the attack.
A number of volunteers rallied round to help tidy the church, which was due to welcome about 400 visitors for a memorial service on Monday afternoon.
Mr Webb added: “We always keep the church unlocked during the day although we may have to review this.
“Most churches seem to be locked but we get favourable comments in our visitors book saying ‘thank you for being open’.
“We do not think it should be locked. It’s a great disappointment that certain people do not respect the sanctity and history of the church.”
Lincolnshire Police have appealed for witnesses to come forward.
A spokesman said: “This incident has occurred at some time during the day when the church was unlocked to allow access for members of the public to worship or just to visit local heritage.
“It is sad and shocking that someone would abuse that trust by entering the church with the sole purpose of carrying out vandalism, knowing fully the upset and distress it would cause the clergy, parishioners and community.
“We would urge anyone with information about who is responsible to contact Lincolnshire Police on 101 in confidence.”