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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At 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.
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.
Slightly 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.
The 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.
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.
At 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”
At 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.
Turning 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:
Stepping 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.
Here it is again but vertically:
Behind 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.
Back 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.
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.
There 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.
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.
There 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.
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.
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.
St Peter’s church, Normanby-by-Spital, Lincolnshire.
A small church in a small village. It sits on a raised mound on a crossroads in the centre of the village. As is usual in villages with old churches, it has been altered and adjusted over the centuries. All these alterations and adjustments leave their scars on the building. The scars at the east end suggest both that there was originally an apse rather than the flat east wall now in place and a large blocked arch in the north wall of the chancel suggests a now-demolished building on the north side of the chancel. The north aisle also has blocked doorways, one probably leading into the now-demolished building. The footings of the possible apse are visible in the grass.
Both the aisles have windows in their east ends. The stonework in these is very different suggesting that they were built at different times – the north aisle window looks like it started as a doorway.
The church originated in the 12th century with many additions in later medieval centuries. There is surviving Norman masonry (see photos of column heads and feet). The inside was renovated by the Victorians (not always a good thing) and the furniture is theirs as is the stained glass window.