St Michael’s church in Buslingthorpe is a very mixed up church. It dates from the 13th century and has been rebuilt by the Victorians with the exception of the tower. We have some idea of the date the church was built by the list of rectors. The first rector was Herbert of Hanby who died in 1220 – clearly the church was built before this.
So, this is a small church – just the nave. There never seem to have been any aisles – I am going by the lack of scars in the walls, both inside and outside. If an aisle has been removed, they usually leave the arches between the nave and aisle and just fill them in. No sign of that here. The pews in the church are ‘modern’ by which I mean almost certainly Victorian.
In the north wall, there is one window and two in the south wall. All the windows are square with Gothic tracery. The cancel is rather small and has one window in the east wall, behind the alter. Again, it is a square window with Gothic tracery. The east window incorporates some stained glass which I presume to be from an earlier window. There is a shield of several colours with an indeterminate piece below it and above there is a small amount of coloured glass within the tracery. See photograph below.
The alter is covered with a fairly new alter cloth which is white with golden trimmings. On the alter are a central crucifix and four candlesticks. The crucifix and the larger candlesticks are made of very corroded brass and the smaller candlesticks are wooden. The crucifix is still decorated with poppies from November.
In front of the alter is a two piece alter rail. This is wrought iron base with wooden tops. There are three steps up from the nave to the cancel.
On the north side of the nave (at the east end) is a full size effigy of a knight is very good condition. There is some lettering in darker stone that is not in such good condition and I was unable to read it. The carving is quite detailed – you can see detail of his armour and weapons – and is in very good condition. There is hardly any chipping and no significant parts missing. A full length photograph is below followed by the top half and then bottom half to show the carving in more detail. My researches suggest that this is Sir John de Buslingthorpe but I make no guarantees as to the correctness of this.
Fixed to the west wall near the west/north corner, is a very old stone coffin lid with a brass effigy let into it. This brass is reputed to be one of the earliest military brasses but modern opinion seems to be that it is of the son of the chap in the stone carving above, Sir John Buslingthorpe, the son being Sir Richard Boselyngthorpe. There is carving in the stone around the coffin lid but I was unable to read more than the occasional letter. On a table inside the tower was a ‘modern’ copy of the brass – see photograph below. I have also included a close-up of the top half of the coffin lid showing the brass in more detail. This also shows where an estucheon has gone missing .
The tower is built from the original stone. There is a neat stone arch between the nave and the tower door on the inside of which is a massive wooden lintel. The door between nave and tower is massive but not that old (Victorian would be my guess). The west wall of the tower has a smallish lancet window. There is a modern wooden ladder up to the bell floor and a rather tatty bell rope hanging down.
The font is near the tower – on the north side of the nave. This is a very plain limestone font which is octagonal in shape with a flat wooden lid. The inside of the font is metal lined, presumably lined with lead.
Right in the west/north corner of the nave is a harmonium. This has seen better days – I did not try it to see if it still works, although I was tempted. The roof is plain and has a very shallow pitch.
Outside: the nave and chancel are built of yellow brick – and are of no great age; they look to be Victorian. As mentioned above, the tower is built from stone and looks to be the original tower. The stone was originally well-dressed with neat quoins at the corners. Where the stone has weathered, it is brown suggesting local ironstone. The very bottom of the tower is the same yellow brick as the nave and chancel which suggests that it was underpinned at the same time as the nave and chancel were rebuilt.
The tower is rather short, extending to just above the nave roof in two stages.