St Andrew’s, Donington-on-Bain

A photographic essay on this delightful Lincolnshire church

A small church that is clearly well looked after. Inside, the walls are plastered and whitewashed. Both chancel and nave have flat plastered ceilings. There are no aisles but the north wall of the nave has a two bay arcade embedded in the wall suggesting that a north aisle existed at some point.


The chancel is fairly large – very nearly as long as the nave (12 paces compared to 14 paces) and only slightly narrower. There are three windows in the chancel. The east window looks Early English – three lancet windows in a larger Gothic reveal – but the stone work outside is a very different stone to the main walls and not much weathered so I think this is a much later addition. This window has no ornamentation apart from two pieces of red glass at the top between the lancets.

East Window

The other two windows are single lancet windows fairly close to the chancel arch – one on each side. These are glazed with plain glass – most of the windows have coloured glass on the sides.Donington-on-Bain-10

Lancet in north chancel wall



Donington-on-Bain-11There is a raised sanctuary at the east end with the altar. There are four wooden candlesticks and a wooden crucifix.  The altar rail is plain chamfered wood supported on wrought iron er the middle – the centre portion hinges to allow access to the sanctuary. A plaque on the altar rail suggests it dates from 1978. The raised floor here is tiled with small coloured tiles in a geometric pattern.

Chancel floor

The rest of the chancel floor is tiled with large square tiles in brick red and black. At the sides of the chancel is a raised portion with a wooden floor. There are two rows of pews on either side in the chancel plus two individual seats.These are nicely made but not of any great age.

There is red carpet running the length of the nave and chancel. In the south east corner of the chancel is a small piscina and in the north west corner is a plain plaque commemorating an interment in the church.

The Piscina

The chancel arch is plain rising from plain piers. the junction of the pier and arch is moulded but plainly.

pier/arch moulding.
pier/arch moulding

The base of the north pier of the chancel arch has been cut away for some indiscernible reason.

cut away portion of chancel arch pier

The nave

The nave is slightly larger than the chancel and is full of pews. These are on a raised (by about an inch or so) wooden floor which has been carpeted with off-cuts of carpet. The general feel of this church is that it is for use rather than showing off.

As mentioned above, there is a two bay arcade embedded in the north wall of the nave which suggests that there was previously a north aisle.

embedded arcade in north wall of aisle

Again, these arches are very plain but with more carving than the chancel arch.

pier/arch carving on aisle wall
pier/arch carving on aisle wall

Within the arcade on the north wall are two windows. Each consists of two lancets with a sun-burst above them. The windows are bordered by coloured glass.

north wall window
north wall window

The south wall of the nave has a large square window with four sections. The stone work outside shows this to be a later addition, but seemingly of the same date as the north wall windows. They have the same coloured glass borders.

south wall window.

Infront of this window, in the south east corner of the nave, is a wooden pulpit, again of no great age.


Also on the south wall is a lancet window with the same coloured glass borders.

south wall lancet

The west wall of the nave leads to the tower. This doorway has a semicircular arch with a stained glass infillDonington-on-Bain-6-2Beside this door, on the north, is the font. This is circular and partially embedded in the west wall. There is an indistinct pattern of overlapping arches around the bowl. It has been provided with a wooden lid of a much later date. There is evidence of dark green paint on the font, and dark red paint on the pedestal.

circular font
patterning of the font bowl

Also in the nave is an electric organ, a wooden lectern  and a seat with a very low lectern.

The tower.

The tower never offers much to the casual visitor as no access is allowed to the interesting parts. This tower has three bell pulls and the remains of a fourth. I suppose that means that there are currently three bells, a fourth having been removed or having becomes unusable.


The walls are built from fairly decent sized stones. The north wall has further evidence of the missing north aisle both with the two bay arcade being visible outside as well and the presence of what would appear to be the footings of the north wall of the north aisle. These ‘footings’ continue to the east end of the chancel.

North wall of the church

There is a modern buttress in the middle of the north wall of the chancel and older corner buttresses at both east end corners. The stone work of the east window is clearly newer than the wall in which it is set – both different stone and less weathering.

Chancel east end buttresses
east end wall of the church

The large window in the south wall of the nave seems to be a much later addition. the quoins are of a different stone to the rest of the church, are cut much more cleanly and are significantly less weathered than the other stonework.

‘new’ window in south wall of the nave.

There are two stone buttresses on the south wall of the nave of differing dates. At the west end of the south wall, there is some evidence of a doorway  – or, perhaps, very poor repairs.

straight vertical join suggesting a previous doorway
tower – south wall
tower – west wall
tower – north wall
south aspect of the Church of St Andrew

Author: John Margetts

I am a keen photographer who also collects cameras. I am retired with about 50 years photography experience.

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