The site of a unique Lincolnshire church destroyed by a blaze caused by a lightning strike will be preserved by a national charity, it was revealed today.
Crispin Truman, chief executive of the Churches Conservation Trust, made the trip from his London office to see the charred remains of the disused Goltho St George's this afternoon.
Only the four walls and bell tower of the 500-year-old building - reputed to be the only brick-built medieval church in the country - survived Monday morning's fire.
Four teams of firefighters tackled the inferno which engulfed the small isolated rural building near Wragby.
The fire was believed to have been caused by lightning striking the church bell, travelling down the metal chain and sparking timbers in the minstrel gallery staircase.
"We look after 344 churches at risk all over the country and this is our biggest loss in our 44-year history," said Mr Truman.
"Three years ago we came to Goltho on a tour and we all fell in love with it then.
"It was a small but beautifully formed church - and there will be a lot of debate about its future."
The trust's North region director Rosi Lister said the immediate future of St George's was of basic scene preservation.
"We have major concerns about the structural safety of the building and its very isolated location in an abandoned medieval village," she said.
"So the first plan of action is to take engineers' advice on scaffolding and making the walls safe.
"Then it will be a case of bringing in specialist teams to investigate what can be saved.
"All this will cost tens of thousands of pounds. Only then will we be able to think about the church's long-term future."
Retired training manager Richard Treasure, 67, of Cross 'O Cliff, Lincoln, said: "As a Churches' Conservation Trust volunteer I know St George's well.
"It used to get about 1,000 visitors a year because it was on a ramblers' trail."