St Benedict’s Church, Lincoln

A small, old church in the centre of the city of Lincoln.

This is a very strange city centre church.There is no separate nave and chancel, the window dates are all over the place and the tower looks like a late Saxon tower. There is one window that is in the Early English style, five windows in English Decorated style, two Perpendicular and one Reformation. Nikolaus Pevsner, writing in 1964, was of the opinion that this was a small Saxon church that was partially modernised in the thirteenth century but the modernisation was never complete. I don’t think that the evidence in the stonework supports this

Anomalies that need to be addressed are the presence of an arch in the west wall that a is filled in and overlaps with the tower. If the tower was a remanent from the Saxon period, why would they build an arch that was bigger than the available space in the wall and then fill it in? On the north side of the west wall there is a window that is partially obscured by the tower. Again, why did they not fit the window to the available space? My third objection to the idea that the chancel was built up to the pre-existing tower is practical. Why, when demolishing the Saxon church, leave just the tower in the midst of a building site when the tower was not required either? The tower could not be used if there was no church attached and it would be seriously in the way. Also, the west wall extends significantly higher than the rest of the building – suggesting that this wall was a part of a higher structure (a nave?).

west wall is too high.

My reading of this conundrum is that the tower was originally a part of a large Saxon church and was situated much further west than it now is. The Saxon church was demolished, being replaced by a ‘modern’ 13th century church consisting of the chancel and nave and reusing the old tower. At a later date, the nave has been demolished and the tower moved east to sit against the west wall of the chancel being made to fit as well as possible in a place it was never intended to be.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, the church is closed and I have not been able to get inside. I do not have a lot more that I can say about the outside. There is evidence of much repair. The original structure was built in Lincolnshire limestone but there are extensive areas of repair in red brick. This sticks out like a series of sore thumbs but the repair work is far from recent and so now has historical value. There are also more modern repairs that have been carried out in limestone Following are pictures of the external structure.

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All Saints, Weybourne

This was my second visit here. The first time I had a rather quick look while waiting for Bestbeloved – we were on holiday with a prime purpose of looking at birds. When Bestbeloved suggested another week in Weybourne I booked a whole day to photograph this church.

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The church is clearly old and, equally clearly, has been renovated on a number of occasions. This is most obvious from outside where there are remains of a mediaeval priory – more later. The Parochial Council has produced an excellent if brief booklet on the church. Although my habit is to restrict myself to what I can see with my own eyes, I shall make use of this booklet on occasion.

Description.

When I am describing windows and arches, I am going to use the classic descriptions of Gothic as being English Decorated or English Perpendicular. I am aware that the Victorians ‘got at’ this church and my naming refers to the style and not the age.

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The chancel is almost square. There are two English Decorated windows on the south wall – neither with stained glass. The eastern most window has three bays and the other two bays. Oddly, there is no window in the east wall above the alter. I think that the reason for this is the presence of more, now defunct, buildings to the east of the current church.weybourne-5

On the east end of the south wall is a piscina the bowl of which sits proud of the wall.weybourne-4

The east wall of the chancel is plain apart from a white curtain covering the lower part of the wall. Speaking to the verger, he told me that the curtain was basically decorative and was covering some plaster in poor condition.

The north wall of the chancel has what look to be two blocked up doorways. One, with a stone arch, is rather low but in keeping with the age of the church. The other is larger with a shallower arch suggesting a date of post 1450. I think that these would have given onto the Saxon tower to be described later.

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The alter is on a raised stone sanctuary with two steps. The furniture is wooden. The church might well possess more impressive articles for use in services but they are not on open display. There are two wooden chairs – one behind the alter and one infant. The lower portion of the chancel has pews on either side. This part of the chancel is floored with terracotta tiles which look to be of no great age.

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The roof is clearly relatively new. It consists of wooden rafters sitting on wooden corbels. The entire chancel ceiling is painted white.weybourne-3

In front of the chancel is a wrought iron and wood barrier. Normally, this would be closer to the alter on the front of the raised area. The verger told me that this had been moved forward as many of the elderly congregation struggled with the two steps required. The entire chancel is two steps above the nave.

The nave is not aligned with the chancel. The north wall of both the chancel and the nave are one. The south wall of the nave, however, is several feet to the south of the south wall of the chancel. This clearly show that the nave and chancel are of different ages.

Between the nave and the chancel is a Gothic arch resting on stone corbels. Above the chancel arch, but central to the nave, is a small English Decorated window.

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The nave has two windows in the south wall, both English Decorated (or English Perpendicular – they are either transitional or Victorian) and both with plain glass.

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The north wall of the nave has a two bay arcade. These have Gothic arches on plain round pillars with plain circular capitals and bases. There used to be a third bay but all that remains is a small part of the capital protruding from the chancel wall.

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The nave roof is wooden and more ornate than the chancel roof, the roof rafters are supported on alternating stone and wooden corbels, the stone corbels being significantly lower than the wooden corbels.

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At the east end of the nave, on the south side, is a wooden organ. This has an ivorine label which states “No 678 The positive Organ Co Ltd London N.W. Patented”. This has recently been moved from a position at the west end to allow for a modern kitchen and toilet to be installed (Again, from the verger).

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On the north side of the east end of the nave is a wooden pulpit. The booklet mentioned earlier states that this is Jacobean. It is nicely carved.

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There is also, on the south side at this end, a wooden lecture with an old Bible dated on the cover 1866 and with Weybourne spelt Waborne.

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By the organ is an ornate niche.weybourne-36

The nave is fitted with pews. These were supplied in 1901 (there is a plaque saying so which is how I can be so precise). The ends of the pews are carved with what I think must be Fleur de Lis. There are also three older carvings incorporated in the pew ends. These appear to be from the 15th century (again relying on the church booklet). They are a woman in a coif, a dove (?) and a small remnant of what was probably a second dove.

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A the west end of the nave is the tower. This has a tall arch with fairly plain bases. The west window, which is English perpendicular, has been recently renovated and reset (information, again, courtesy of the verger).

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In there ground level portion of the tower is a new toilet. Above the toilet are the creed and Lord’s Prayer which have been moved from the east end of the nave (info courtesy of the verger, again). Also in the tower are a small door (to access higher levels of the tower?) and a niche. The tower houses a clock which was quite noisy while I was in the church on my own but perhaps not noticeable when  the church is in use.

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The north aisle is used for “messy church” for children. There is a door into the vestry.weybourne-53

The north aisle  houses a large oil panting whose subject matter I cannot make out.

weybourne-58The main door into the church is wooden with very ornate hinges – this looks to be Victorian. The porch is plain and painted white. Halfway up the walls are sockets for floor joists suggesting that there used to be an upper storey (used as a chapel when the church was not in use?). The outer door of the porch is very modern and made from etched glass.

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Porch wall with joist sockets

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Outside.

Coming from Lincolnshire, the most striking thing about this church is the materials it is built from. It is mostly flint with stone quoins and flints. It is quite easy to distinguish the various periods of work by the flints (whole or knapped) and whether they are laid to courses or randomly. The earlier work is whole flints laid to courses and the newest is knapped flints laid more or less randomly. The roughest work is clearly repairs.

The tower is ‘modern’ – i.e. later than 1400 – with typical-for-the-period corner buttresses. The tower has three sections with a large Perpendicular west window in the middle section. This window has been reglazed and reset very recently. I was originally told this by the verger but it is also apparent b y the disruption to the flints work on the outside. Even when the work has become well weathered I think it will still be apparent.

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The middle section of the tower houses the clock which has faces on the west and south faces only. Beneath the clock dial on both sides is a small square window. The top section has a large perpendicular window on each side, ‘glazed’ with wood.

From the outside, the porch clearly has two storeys., The lower storey is built from flints and the upper storey has a chequerboard of flint squares and brick squares on the front face. The sides of the porch are flint all the way up. Above the porch door is an empty niche and above that a window.

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Porch front

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porch side

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Porch side

On both sides of the porch, where the porch meets the nave, there is evidence of large repairs. I suspect that at least one of these (but perhaps both) mask where the stairs to the porch loft were originally.

The south walls of the nave and chancel have nothing much to tell us. The north walls are not visible to the public. The chancel wall has been raised at the top with five courses of bricks.  The outside of the chan cel roof does not seem to match the inside. Outside, the chancel roof has a single ‘lean-to’ roof. Inside, the chancel’s rafters form an apex centrally in the chancel ceiling. I rather think that the chancel ceiling has a void above it, the concern of the renovators being to produce a pleasing interior rather than just support the roof.

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Chancel roof abutting up to the Saxon tower.

There are ruins of the old Priory that this church used to be a part of. Of these walls, I am not able to discern anything about the buildings they originally formed a part of. The most interesting part of the ruins is a tower that rises above the east end of the chancel. The chancel and this tower share foundations. This tower  (or, rather, part of a tower) is clearly of Saxon origin. It has typically Saxon ornamentation in the stonework. I would think that this was originally a crossing tower over the junction of the nave and chancel of an earlier phase of the building. Above the ornamentation at rest op of the Saxon tower are two holes on south face and one remaining hole on the partial east face. These would have been there to allow the sound of the bells to be heard.

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As you might expect, the churchyard is full of gravestones. Many of these have weathered to become unreadable – or at least very hard to read. Some of the older stones were sharply enough and deeply enough carved to be still easy to read. Examples:

John Johnson who dies in 1740 (January 9th) aged 67.

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Thos Bull who died February 26th 1730 aged 54 years, and also his Whife (sic) whose date and age I cannot read.

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Joannes Hooke who died 16 November 1744 aged 78 and was posh enough to have his gravestone carved in Latin but with an English motto: “The Righteous hath hope in his death”.

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St Denys, Aswarby

A description of St Denys’ church, Aswarby, Lincolnshire with photographs.

 

This is a larger than usual parish church in what is now a very small village. The church is a grade 1 listed building and the formal listing of the church (one huge paragraph!) can be found here.

Titchwell RSPB nature reserveThe church is a melange of mediaeval styles. The main door ninth south front is unremittingly Norman with carvings around the semi-circular arch that are very reminiscent of the main entrance on the West Front of Lincoln cathedral. The main ornamentation is chevrons with two rows of dog toothing around them. This arch is supported on plain columns with crudely carved acanthus leaf capitals and on the columns nearest the door a simplified and crude Ionic volute (see photos below).  These columns disappear into the floor without any base. This could well be because the bases are hidden by the floor of the newer porch. This is not a cheap doorway and was intended to impress.

Using my copy of ‘Architecture Classic and Gothic’ by Martin A. Buckmaster (1898, so a classic in its own right) this would appear to be mid to late Norman – 1100 to 1150 – the very similar Lincoln Cathedral doorway was built before  1092 (when the cathedral was consecrated) and if it inspired this doorway, we can probably look to nearer 1100 than 1150.

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Between the columns and the arch is a plain chamfered architrave. The door itself is solid, plain, wood and clearly dates from the Victorian renovations. Towards the bottom of the door are a number of cruciform holes which I presume to be for ventilation.

Outside of this doorway is a much newer porch. The outer entrance to the porch is a plain Gothic arch. This is not entirely without ornamentation – the surface is carved into a series of receding arches. The carving is very crisp which makes me think that this is Victorian rather than mediaeval. Even somewhere as rural as Aswarby I would expect significant erosion due to air pollution acting on the sharp edges of the mouldings over nine centuries. At the base of the arch are two carved heads – a crowned queen on the left and a crowned king on the fright – and these are also very crisply carved suggesting a late date.

 

Going inside the church, I am going to start in the chancel. The entrance to the chancel from the nave is a plain Gothic arch supported on piers in the form of half columns. The capitals and bases are plainly moulded. At the east end of the chancel is the expected large window in four sections. This is in late English Decorated or early Perpendicular style. The formal listing (the church is grade 1 listed) gives the chancel as being 19th centuryTitchwell RSPB nature reserveTitchwell RSPB nature reserveThis has a very visible repair at the top and the outside is not as crisp as the south porch, the glass is certainly Victorian and there is a plaque dating the glass to 1892. This is the only figurative stained glass in the church.

There is a small wooden alter with brass ornaments and a small wooden chair. These are both on a raised sanctuary which is tiled  and has a wooden alter rail. These are both nicely made from dark wood and are clearly Victorian at the oldest.

 

imageTitchwell RSPB nature reserveThere is a small organ in the chancel. Again, this is of no great age. At some point, the organ has been adapted for electricity – there is a small art compressor on the floor to the left of the organ. The organ is marked “Cousans Sons & Co Lincoln”. There are two sets of pews on either side of the chancel for the choir – that is four pews in all. Pews are always a modern addition in any church and these pews are of differing ages – their styles vary, indicating that the church acquired them at different times. I suspect that they are all Victorian. Between the Sanctuary and the choir pews there is a small door in the south wall.

Titchwell RSPB nature reserveTitchwell RSPB nature reserveThere are two windows on each of the north and south walls of the chancel. These are glazed with plain glass in lozenges. The ceiling of the chancel is dark wood – again Victorian – resting on stone corbels. Titchwell RSPB nature reserveThis roof is nicely made. The main floor of the chancel is stone slabs with a slightly raised wooden floor beneath the pews.

 

Nave.

Now I shall move onto the nave. The nave has a north aisle but no south aisle – nor any trace that there has been a south aisle in the past. The nave and north aisle are furnished with pews. These pews are enclosed with individual doors. Again, these are clearly Victorian. The north aisle is separated from the nave by a four bay arcade with Gothic arches.

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Above the nave is a clerestory with plain glazed windows. These clerestory windows look to me to be other early English Decorated and look weathered enough not to be Victorian work. These are plain glazed with small clear lozenges of glass.

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On the south wall of the nave there are three windows. These are not all of the same age or style. The western most window – west of the south porch – has three sections, each of which looks Early English (somewhere around 1250?). The two windows east of the south porch have two sections each of which has an ogee arch (early 1300s?). These south wall windows are glazed with coloured glass – the edges are a mixture of blue  and yellow shapes, bounded on then inside with a thin red glass border. The main body of the glazing is grey and yellow in the form of a grey leaf with a yellow stalk. Above the arches is a quatrefoil shape bearing a coat of arms and motto. The coat of arms is basically two red pigs, one above the other. None of this is dated.

 

The north aisle has two windows in the north wall east of the north door (which has no porch), and a larger window in each of the west and set ends. All four have plain clear glazing.

The south door sits in the Norman arch already mentioned. This means that the profile of the top of the door is semicircular. This is a sturdy wooden door reinforced on the inside with a lattice pattern of wooden slats. near the bottom of the door is a rectangular box with a hinged cover and cruciform holes for ventilation. On my visit to this church this cover was raised allowing some ventilation of the church – there certainly was no musty smell here such as I frequently encounter in old churches.

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The north door fits into a Gothic arch so the profile of this door is pointed. This door is also sturdy but plainer than the south door, without the lattice of reinforcing slats. It does, however, also have the ventilation section but in this case the cover was closed.

Titchwell RSPB nature reserveBetween the two doors, in line with the arcade separating the nave from the north aisles a font. This is stone, circular and with four ornamental columns. The font has a rather nice wood and brass cover. Again, I suspect that the cover is Victorian but the actual font is clearly much older. It could even be from the original Norman church. Pevsner has this font as ‘transitional’ or between Norman and Early English (1150 – 1180?). It is certainly a very attractive thing.

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The north aisle has more enclosed pews but the congregation  in there would have had no view of the alter although the pulpit is clearly visible. At the east end of the aisle there is a raised portion with what look to be older box pews. These are accompanied by carvings in the wood. I imagine that this was for the lord of the manor and his family.

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At the west end of the north aisle is a raised concrete area with a wrought iron fence. Being concrete, it is clearly very late Victorian or twentieth century. Talking to a villager outside the church, I was told that originally this area was the access to the lord’s family vault. When I was in the church, it was being used to store chairs.

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The nave roof is also of dark wood and undoubtedly Victorian – a splendid roof, nonetheless. The roof sits on stone corbels which are mediaeval.

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Between the chancel and nave are a wooden pulpit and a lecture. I would think that both these are Victorian manufacture. The pulpit carries a carve coat of arms (Two pigs, one above the other halved with four fleur de lys).

Titchwell RSPB nature reserveTitchwell RSPB nature reserveTitchwell RSPB nature reserveThe tower is at the west end, as usual. Access is through a relatively slender Gothic arch. There are blue curtains to close off the lower portion of the arch. The base of the tower is used for storage (again, as usual). There is a large pulley system with a weight presumably to power the clock. There is a small grey door in the corner which I assume gives onto a staircase to access upper levels of the tower. There is a hasp and staple complete with a combination lock to secure this door. The lock was undone when I was there so I cold have had a look up above but ‘Health and Safety’ kicked in and I stayed below.Titchwell RSPB nature reserveTitchwell RSPB nature reserve

Outside.

The church from the outside is quite imposing. It is rather long for a country parish church and the clerestory adds to its gravitas. I cannot really call this a charming church but it is attractive. The stone is grey – this is due to both weathering of the limestone over many centuries and the presence of lichens. The agriculture is not particularly intensive in this area so there is a paucity of yellow or orange lichens which adds to the stonework’s appeal. In describing the exterior of the church I shall start at the west end.

Titchwell RSPB nature reserveThe west end of this church is dominated by the tower. The tower has three stages with stone stringers between and buttresses on the corners. The tower is almost as wide as the nave. The tower is a late addition – the size, height and the pinnacles on the corners suggest 15th century although there was probably a smaller tower before this. The west face of the tower has a tall, perpendicular style window in the lower stage.

The middle stage has the clock face. The clock face is made from either copper of bronze. As it has weathered, metal-rich water has run down the stonework below the clock and preventing any lichen growth below the clock. This has resulted in a pale lichen-free area. The top stage on the west has a narrower window in the English Decorated style. This upper window has louvres for ventilation as well as light.

Titchwell RSPB nature reserveThe north and south faces of the tower have no features (apart from the stone stringers between the stages) apart from the top stage which also have a window each with louvres.

The top of the tower has a stone parapet with a stone pinnacle on each corner. On top of the tower is a stone spire which is topped with a significant amount of lead. The spire has small windows part way up.

On the corners of the parapet, below the pinnacles, are carved stone grotesques. Initially, I thought these were gargoyles but they actually point slightly upwards and have no opening for the discharge of water. Between the grotesques, on each side there are two lead water spouts to remove the water run-off from the spire.

Moving onto the south face, the main entrance to the church, the south porch, is part way along the wall – frequently this porch is right at the west end of the the south wall. There is one window to the west of the porch and two windows to the east. Between the two eastern windows on this south wall is a stone buttress.

Titchwell RSPB nature reserveAbove the nave level on this wall is a stone stringer the length off the nave. Above e this is the clerestory with six windows. Also, we can clearly see the ends of two reinforcing ties inserted by the Victorian renovators. The south wall is topped with a crenelated parapet. Just below the parapet are three stone gargoyles. These are actually intended for water discharge but their rôle has been replaced by modern guttering and down pipes (the Victorians, again). These gargoyles are clearly mediaeval as they are far too rude for Victorian work.

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The chancel has no outstanding features. The south wall has two windows with a butters between. At the top of the wall is a low parapet which is not crenelated and has no gargoyles. The chancel roof is much steeper than the nave roof. The corners of the chancel have buttresses on each side. There is a small. grey, door halfway along the chancel’s south wall.

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The north face of the nave is more complex than the south wall. The main difference is the presence of the north aisle. This has a lean-to roof which connects to the nave wall just below the clerestory. The aisle wall has five buttresses along its length. The north door to the church is on this wall – it has no porch.

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On the north east corner of the clerestory is a very small tower. To be honest, I did not see this when I was looking around the church and only noticed it when I was examining my photographs. The gable end of the nave and the northern clerestory are both crenelated and the north parapet has three gargoyles like the south parapet. Again, these gargoyles no longer have their original function, two down-pipes having taken their place.

 

 

All Hallows, Clixby, Lincolnshire

This is the remains of a thirteenth century church. Most of the church is completely missing – all that is left is the chancel. Apparently, the church was derelict in the 18th century and the nave, aisles and tower (assuming there was a tower) were all demolished. The chancel was restored (if that is the right word) in 1889.

Clixby 1The church is built from local limestone, which in north lincolnshire, means ironstone. This is rather brown and does not weather as well as the limestones to be found further south. The west of the church gives us some clues as to what the entire church was like. The chancel arch is mostly visible in the wall and on the extreme left and right of the west wall are piers from the aisle arcading so we know that there were both a north aisle and  a south aisle previously.

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The square porch is from the 19th century restoration but reused stones from the original building. The arch over the door shows very weathered dog-tooth decoration, particularly on the left, which suggests a thirteenth century date for the original arch.

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Inside, the chancel arch can be seen as well as on the outside. Here, the arch has been plastered and whitewashed so only the outline is visible. In the infill of the chancel arch are what appear to be two blocked-up doorways. As the arch would originally have been open to the nave, these two would appear to be conceits of the restorer (one Hodgson Fowler who seems to have specialised in restoring old churches). The headings of these two “blocked doorways” look to be reused from some other purpose. 

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In the south west corner of the church is the font. I am told that this is fifteenth century work and came from Low Toynton church when that church was made redundant in the 1970s.

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The south wall of the church has two English decorated windows and a blocked-up priest’s doorway. Under the east-most window there is a piscina.Clixby 7

The east wall has the largest window. To my untutored eye, this looks to be early Perpendicular and so not thirteenth century – but adding “modern” windows to an older church was rather common. The alter is wooden and fairly ornate. I assume that this dates from the nineteenth century restoration.

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St Nicholas, Fulbeck

St. Nicholas’ in Fulbeck is quite a large church in good condition. It consists of a nave, two aisles and a fairly long chancel. The aisles are separated from the nave by a three bay arcade on either side of the nave. The arcades are supported on plain round columns of, perhaps, 2.5 metres height. The pillars and facing stones of these two arcades do not seem to have any great age. Above the arcades is a clerestory with plain glass glazing. The clerestory windows have very flat arches and virtually no ornamentation.

The roof, again, is of no great age and is supported on carved bosses. There is a variety of carved wooden figures on the bosses and between them.

The aisle windows are English Decorated style. Those in the north aisle are fairly simply ornamented while those in the south aisle are more complex. The north aisle windows have rather dark stained glass dated 1838, 1855 and 1852. The south aisle windows have much lighter glass (but not plain) with either geometric patterns or coats of arms. The east window in the south aisle is in the Perpendicular style.

The chancel is rather long – it is divided into the chancel proper and a sanctuary. It has six windows and a large east window, all in the English Decorated style. The stained glass here is figurative and is dated 1857, unreadable, undated (north wall) and 1840, 1868, 1862 (south wall). These dates are all the commemoration dates – the actual glass is likely to be a year or two newer. The east window was enlarged in 1988 and glazed in 1891 (stone work is carved with the date and the glass also contains a date).

On the south wall of the sanctuary is a three bay ‘seat’ and on the north wall is a low arch with no discernible purpose. The roof of the chancel looks to be much the same date as the nave roof but is much plainer. The arch between the nave and chancel is Gothic borne on half-octagonal columns.

The organ is fitted on a mezzanine in the tower. This looks to be twentieth century to me.

The pews are of dark-stained wood and I would be very surprised if they were not Victorian. The nave has electric lighting of a very modern design which does not look out of place. The walls are covered with memorials ina plethora of designs.

The font is square and lead lined with a round wooden lid. I cannot think that the font is very old.

The door in the south proch is oak and is ornamented in the Perpendiculat fashion. This door clearly has some age and I would think dates from the end of the fifteenth century. The proch is plain and clealry quite old. There is some graffitti in the wall around the door – one instance is dated to 1679.

The photographs:

The nave and east window:Fulbeck-58-HDR

North aisle windows:Fulbeck-42-HDRFulbeck-41-HDRFulbeck-32-HDR

 

South aisle windows:Fulbeck-24-HDR

The chancel:Fulbeck-5-HDRFulbeck-39Fulbeck-40

The organ in the tower:Fulbeck-38

West end of north aisle:Fulbeck-49

West end of south aisle:Fulbeck-50

The font:Fulbeck-10

plain column of the aisle arcades:Fulbeck-11

The modern lighting fittings:Fulbeck-51

Wooden carvings in the roof:Fulbeck-36Fulbeck-37

Clerestory windows:Fulbeck-56-HDR

Outside, the stonework is clearly of differing ages. Some is in ‘as new’ condition and would seem to be Victorian work and some is very weathered and must be much older. The window stones, in particular, do not seem to be very old, yet the gargoyles are very weathered and in some cases have lost almost all their features. The porch must date to before 1700 as the graffitti offers a date for a bored schoolboy in 1679 (as well as another bored schoolboy in 1968).

Graffitti:Fulbeck-65Fulbeck-66Fulbeck-68Fulbeck-67Fulbeck-69Fulbeck-70

 

Gargoyles and other grotesques:

Other features (sundial? ventilation?)Fulbeck-87Fulbeck-94

The churchyard is well maintained and has a multitude of yellow and pink priroses which were in full flower when I visited. There is a lych-gate at the main entrance to the church.

 

Saint Martin’s Church, North Owersby

A photoessay on an 18th century church in northern Lincolnshire.

Initially, as you approach this church along the footpath it has the appearance of a mediaeval church. As you approach closer it starts to look a bit wrong. The windows are clearly not mediaeval for a start. Have they been inserted into an older building? The window openings have rounded arches – the door is not in the usual place – generally, the church is just ‘wrong’. I will return to this a bit later as a register inside then building reveals aNorth Owersby-3

My first comment is that it is a church that is still in regular use and it is kept locked. I could find no indication as to where I might find the key but as luck would have it, while I was looking at the outside a chap came along walking his dog – he turned out to be a church-warden and he directed me to his home with the instruction to ask his wife for the key. Before fetching the key, I continued my exploration of the outside which I will now describe.

 

Outside the Church.

Starting at the west end of the church, behind then tower: this church is built from local ironstone which is badly weathered (ironstone is not really a good building stone but is what is available locally). The tower has one stage with a stringer course at about two metres. The tower is slightly narrower above this stringer but not by very much. There is a squarish lancet window half way up and a second, rounded arch window near the top.

Moving around to the south side of the tower, there is the only door into the church. There is a very worn step into the church. Above the door, about halfway up the tower, is a wooden clock face. This is octagonal in shape, was made in 2009 and needs to be repainted.

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North Owersby-6Moving along to the south wall of the church, there are three rounded windows. Inside each is decorative stonework which is of better quality stone than the walls. The glazing of these windows is geometrically patterned stained glass. Towards the top of each window is a roundel with a branch and a bird. This is repeated in each of the three windows, with a different bird in each.

North Owersby-2Between the west-most and central windows there is the remains of a plaque which no longer contains any details. Otherwise, the wall is featureless and weathered. There are some indications of repairs. At the base of the wall are some gravestones leaning against the wall rather than being in their original positions.

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Moving to the east end – there is an apse, which is slightly narrower than the body of the church. I do not understand why, but an apse always lifts my spirits and it is a pity they became out of fashion. There is one window in the apse of the same design as the windows on the south wall, and again the window stonework is much better than the wall’s stones.

North Owersby-5Moving around the corner again, we see the north wall of the church. Again, there are three windows of the same design.There are no features at all on the north wall apart from the windows (and an iron brace in the shape of a cross at the upper east end of the north wall). Further along, we get to the north face of the tower. There is one rounded window near the top of the tower. These tower windows are not glazed (at least as far as I can see) and are fitted with louvres. On the north-west corner of the north wall of the church is an Ordinance Survey benchmark (no. 86420).

North OwersbyLeaving the church briefly, the churchyard is well maintained. At some point, all the memorials on the south side of the churchyard have been moved into two rows. This is generally done to easy the mowing of the grass but they are managing well on the north side with the memorials in situ so perhaps there is another reason. At the east end of the churchyard are some chest tombs which are well mossed and also some more recent polished granite memorials. many memorials have fresh flowers so the churchyard is clearly still active.

Inside the Church.

Inside the tower is a wooden box-like structure going up the wall and a helical staircase going up which is blocked off with furniture so a good reason not to try to go up.

Going into the main body of the church is a wooden door with a lattice light glazed with Perspex. Inside the door, on the north side, are a padlocked chest, a table, chair and a pew screened off with a curtain and a wooden panel.

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There is a notice on the wall referring to a Robert Sheardown which is dated 1764. There is another word which is not quite readable.

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The church is simple with a nave and no aisles. The stained glass looks a whole lot better from the inside with daylight coming through the glass (as it is obviously intended to be viewed). Each window is much the same but with a different bird in the roundel.North Owersby-9

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Here is one of the windows in its entirety which probably looks a whole lot better than my descriptions.

North Owersby-16There are ten pews on each side with plain ends. Where the pew ends might be carved there is a simple circle.

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North Owersby-26Before reaching the apse there is a raised portion of floor which is tiled with unglazed tiles. The main body of the nave has a blue carpet and the pews are on a raised platform. There is a wooden pulpit which is not ornate but is attractive in its own way. There is also a small brass lectern with a cloth on it (just visible behind the cushions on the left).North Owersby-23

The altar is on another rise portion which is tiled as the rest of the apse. The altar is covered with a patterned cloth with a plain cloth on top. On the altar is a brass crucifix with a Lamb and Flag on it and two brass candlesticks. Behind the altar are two large, floor-standing, candlesticks with coloured glass decorations.

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North Owersby-25The main body of the apse is plain. There is a carved chair with a blue cushion intended for the priest. There is a memorial on the edge of the chancel dedicated to  “The Rev Thomas Nelson, Vicar, 1827. Interred in the centre of the altar.”

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On the right on the raised portion before the apse is an electronic organ and an older harmonium. On the harmonium is a carved onyx font which is six inches in diameter, together with another couple of candlesticks.

North Owersby-20North Owersby-21In front of the north range of pews is a bigger brass lectern marked “In memory of John Osgoodby 48 years Parish Clerk and in commemoration of a diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria”. The lectern contains a book: “The Common Worship Lectionary” which is  a table of psalms and readings from the Bible.

North Owersby-19Looking back towards the entrance on the west wall there is a plaque above the door “In memory of Mary Randell dies 1849” and a painted memorial on the wall “John Richardson, Churchwarden”.

North Owersby-28North Owersby-29The walls are painted white but the two painted memorials on the west wall have been carefully painted around to preserve them.

There is a larger stone font which is quite attractive. It has a modern glass fruit bowl inside to hold the water. There is an ornate stool in front of the font.

North Owersby-32There is a bookcase beside the door containing Hymns Ancient and Modern. On the north wall there is a list of Rectors, Vicars and Curates from the original date of the church. Alongside many of the dates are notes. One of these explains the anomoly of the style of the church and the variation in weathering of the stonework outside. The church was rebuilt in 1763, reusing the original stones in the main but with modern (for 1763) stonework for the windows.

The earliest incumbent  was a Rector called Walter in 1238 but there was an undated Robert before him. This is a modern list collated from the original registers. One of the notes suggests that one Rector, John Scott (1733), signed his own burial entry!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Piscina

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

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pier/arch moulding.

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pier/arch moulding

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

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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.

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embedded arcade in north wall of aisle

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

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pier/arch carving on aisle wall

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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.

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north wall window

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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.

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south wall window.

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

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pulpit

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

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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.

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circular font

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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.

Outside.

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.

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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.

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Chancel east end buttresses

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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.

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‘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.

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straight vertical join suggesting a previous doorway

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tower – south wall

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tower – west wall

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tower – north wall

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south aspect of the Church of St Andrew

St.Peter’s, Kingerby.

This is a small church with a central nave and an aisle on the south side – there are two Gothic arches between the nave and the aisle, both are very plain. The door to the outside is very plain, not very handsome, and painted a dark green. A rustic door is perhaps the best description.

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Inside.

The south aisle is floored with old unglazed tiles. There are two arches between the nave and the aisle. On the eastern most pillar of the two arches between the nave and aisle (i.e. near the chancel) the floor has been dug away for a few inches to reveal the base of the column. Current floor level is several inches above the original floor level.

Kingerby_0019Kingerby-L-76At the east end of the aisle, there is a small Early English Gothic window with two stained glass panels. The upper half of each looks to be original glass with a picture on the left of someone with a musical instrument and on the right, someone with what looks like a dart board. In fact, the musical instrument is an organ and tells us that the saint concerned is St. Cecilia while the “dart board” is actually a wheel which, together with the crown that the saint is wearing, tells us that this is St. Catherine of Alexandria. Above the two saints is a very small crucifix against a blue background. I am told that this stained-glass dates from the fourteenth century.
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On the south wall of the aisle there are effigies of two knights. The eastern most one is a very detailed carving but he is missing his legs. His feet are in place and his torso and head. He is wearing chain mail and something over the mail – plated armour by the looks of it. This ‘armour’ is covered in heraldic devices which I cannot quite make out.

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Kingerby-L-59Slightly to the west but still against the south wall is a second effigy with one leg in place and a lower leg missing – he is in a twisted position. The carving is not as good as with the other effigy and there is a large piece missing on the breast of the knight. There is no writing on either effigy to indicate who they might be but the second one might be Sir William Disney and the first on his son (but I have no name for him). Both look like they have been repaired at some time.

Kingerby-L-92St Peter's, Kingerby 37Kingerby-L-82The roof is wooden and doesn’t look to be that old. – the wood is still rather yellow. There are carvings where the pieces of wood are joined.

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The arches between the nave and aisle are very plain. The eastern column has some decoration about two metres up – very plain decoration. The other two are very plain.

Kingerby-L-12At the west end of the nave is a font. This is very plain and octagonal. It is carved from limestone. It has a very large pointed wooden lid and the font itself is lead-lined. There is also a wooden collecting box – a very rustic affair with the legend “Cast one mite into it 1639”

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Kingerby-L-73Kingerby_0013At the west end of the nave is the tower. The entrance to the tower from the nave is an ogee arch. There is a green rustic door between the nave and tower which is locked so I cannot get into it but I can look over it. Inside, there is a smallish window on the west wall, a heavy-duty ladder leading upwards and one single bell-rope hanging down. The tower is clearly used for storage and smells very damp.

St Peter's, Kingerby 25Kingerby_0006Kingerby-L-10_HDRTurning around: there is an arch into the chancel – the pillars are circular up to about 7 or 8 feet, topped by a plain Gothic arch. To the north of the chancel arch there is a part where the surface of the wall has been removed revealing a pillar that is now within the wall. This could possibly be the remains of an arch leading into an earlier northern aisle but there is no other indication on the inside that there was one. Pillar details:

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Kingerby-L-75Stepping up into the chancel – the chancel floor is composed of memorials one of which is dedicated to Mr William Warren who died on 9th may 1782 aged 62 and also his first wife, Ann. On the left is in Latin: “DOMPM – part missing – Juliani – illegible”.

On the south wall of the chancel, propped against the wall is what appears to be a coffin lid and memorial of a knight – not a life-like carving of a knight but a more-or-less symbolic carving. West of the knight is a small leaded window. Above the knight on the south wall is a lancet window which is plain and to the south of the alter is a plain square window.

kingerby-chancel-effigyHere it is again but vertically:

Kingerby-chancel-knightBehind the alter is a two pane Gothic window – this looks to me like English Decorated Gothic. The alter is a plain wooden table. North of the alter on the chancel wall are four memorials. These are nineteenth century – 1823, 1830, 1837 and 1810. South of the alter on a board in gold script is the Apostle’s Creed.

kingerby-creedBack to the nave. North of the nave is a wooden pulpit. This looks to be Victorian. It is very solidly made but is nothing noteworthy. There is a brass lectern presented by CS Dickinson Esq in 1875. This is somewhat corroded but not excessively given the conditions in the church. There is a second lectern, this time of wood, for a bible on the south side of the nave by the chancel arch, complete with a Bible. This Bible was presented to St Peter’s Church, Kingerby by W.W. Nicholl, being the family Bible of his Great-Grandfather, Alexander, Baron of Culraven, Kirkcudbrightshire, dated 1819.

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The pews are soft-wood, fairly light coloured and almost certainly Victorian. On the west end of the south wall, there are lists of Rectors, Vicars, Curates and patrons. The church plate has been removed to the Victoria and albert museum in London for safe keeping, but there is a photograph of it here.

The south wall of the nave has a clerestory with two clear-glazed windows. There are some carvings in the roof where the timbers connect. There is also a musical instrument in the south-west corner of the nave – as far as I can tell, this is an harmonium.

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North wall window, inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kingerby-L-50There is one window on the north wall – English Decorated Gothic again, I think – which is fairly complex. On the south wall, there is a window with a wooden mullion. This is a very plain window, presumably modern with square glass and no ornamentation.kingerby-wood-mullion

 

Outside.

The church would seem to be built from local stone and is quite nicely built. The stones are weathering well – nice dark ironstone. The tower has three stages, buttressed on the corners and with stringers between the stages. The middle stage has one wooden ventilator which is square. The top stage has two ventilators on the south and north walls which are Gothic. The tower roof is not visible and is probably close to flat.

The porch has a Gothic external entrance but the door between the porch and nave looks to be Norman and certainly is not Gothic (a relic from an earlier church?). The outside of the nave and clerestory has been rendered at some point but the aisle wall doesn’t seem to have been.

Kingerby-L-56Kingerby-L-89There is a fairly new pantile roof – late twentieth century at the oldest. There is a shallow pitched roof to the nave but marks on the tower show that the roof used to be much steeper. The older, steeper roofs were usually so because they were shingle, or perhaps thatch which need the steepness to remain rain-proof. When the church was able to move to slate, tiles or lead, the roof would be lowered to reduce the weight of the new covering.

On the north wall of the nave outside there is evidence of arches (See comment about the partial arch inside). There is one arch, a buttress and a second arch, indicating that there was once a north aisle at some point. On the infill of the eastern most arch is the window I mentioned in the description of the interior.

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Window on north wall of nave

Kingerby-L-44_HDRKingerby-L-72St Peter's, Kingerby

There is little of any note on the outside of the chancel, the south wall of which supports plenty of lichens. At the junction of the chancel and nave there are some indications that the chancel used to be higher with a steeper roof – see my note above about a change in roofing materials.

In the churchyard are a variety of grave memorials. Mostly, these are normal Victorian styles but there are some more interesting ones.Kingerby-L-74-2Kingerby-L-75-2