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.

stone coffins

This blog.

For some time I have had a project to photograph all the redundant churches in Lincolnshire, UK. “Redundant” means the church is no longer used for worship but the church is still consecrated – it is still a church. There are rather a lot of them – 24 officially in Lincolnshire – these are the ones owned and looked after by the Churches Conservation Trust. I have photographed 14 of them so far so only ten more to ‘do’ but I might revisit some of them as I am learning the art of photographing small dark buildings as I go and some of the first churches I went to could do with a second visit.
When I have finished all of the redundant churches I might go on to photograph churches in current use. however, I have been advised that this might act as advertisements to would be thieves who will be able to see what is worth stealing from my pictures, so I am going to have to think that aspect through  deeply.
Wikipedia lists the redundant churches in Lincolnshire
Name and
town or village
Date Notes Grade
St Martin,
10th century
The central tower of the church is Saxon, dating from the 10th century. Additions and alterations were made in the 11th and 13th centuries, and the church was restored in 1861 in Early English style. I
St Nicholas, Normanton
11th century
The church dates from the 11th century, with additions and alterations made during each of the following four centuries. In 1845 the vestry was added, and the chancel and the north wall of the nave were largely rebuilt. The church was declared redundant in February 1974. II*
St Mary,
North Cockerington
11th century
St Mary’s stands a mile from its former parish. It dates from the 11th century, with additions and alterations in the late 12th century, in about 1300, and in the 14th century. The tower was added in the 19th century, and the church was declared redundant in March 1981. I
St Mary,
Late 11th century
St Mary’s dates from the 11th century, the tower was built in the 11th–12th century, and additions and alterations were made in the 13th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The church was declared redundant in 1972. I
St Michael, Burwell
Early 12th century
St Michael’s dates from the early 12th century. The chancel was added during the following century, and the tower was built in the early 16th century. There were alterations in the 18th and 19th centuries. The church was restored in 1911, but declared redundant in 1981. I
St Benedict, Haltham on Bain
Early 12th century
Dating from the 12th century, additions and alterations were made later that century, and in each of the following three centuries. It was restored in 1880 and in 1891, increasing its seating from 67 to 140. The church was declared redundant in October 1977. I
St Barbara, Haceby
12th century
This limestone church dates from the 12th century, with later additions and alterations. It was restored in 1890 and in 1924. Above its chancel arch are Royal arms paint. I
St Peter, Normanby by Spital
12th century
St Peter’s dates from the 12th century, with additions and alterations in each of the following three centuries. It was restored in 1890. Its north arcade is Norman, with round arches, and its south arcade has pointed arches.

All Saints, Saltfleetby
12th century
All Saints stands in marshland and has a leaning west tower. One of the two pulpits inside the church was donated by Oriel College, Oxford. The church dates from the 12th century, and many later additions and alterations have been made. It was declared redundant in 1973. I
St Lawrence, Snarford
12th century
The church was built to serve the residents of the nearby Snarford Hall (now demolished), including the St Paul (or St Pol) family. It contains elaborate monuments to this family, and an alabaster plaque to Robert Rich. The church was declared redundant in 1995. I
St John the Baptist,
12th century
Built in the 12th century, the church was expanded during a time of prosperity in the town in the early 15th century. It was restored in the High church tradition in 1856. Repairs had to be undertaken in 1950–53 because of subsidence resulting from the collapse of burial vaults under the church. I
All Saints, Theddlethorpe
12th century
Sometimes known as the “Cathedral of the Marsh”, All Saints dates from the 12th century, with additions and alterations in about 1380–1400, and again in the late 17th century. It was declared redundant in 1973. I
St Peter,
South Somercotes
c. 1200
With its tall spire rising from a flat landscape, this church has been called “The Queen of the Marsh”. Since it was declared redundant it has been underpinned because of subsidence. I
St Botolph, Skidbrooke
Early 13th century
Standing in the Lincolnshire marshlands, additions and alterations have been carried out since the church was built in the 13th century. It was declared redundant in 1973, and there have been reports of satanist activity in the church. I
St Michael, Buslingthorpe
13th century
St Michael’s is a simple church standing on the site of a deserted medieval village. Its limestone tower dates from the 13th century, while the rest of the church was rebuilt in brick in 1835. It is notable for two medieval monuments to members of the Buslingthorpe family. The church was declared redundant in 1984. II*
All Hallows, Clixby
13th century
Since being built in the 13th century the fabric of this church deteriorated so much that by 1871 only the chancel had survived. This was restored in 1889 by C. Hodgson Fowler and a west porch was added. The church was declared redundant in 1973. II*
St John the Baptist,
14th century
St John’s was largely rebuilt in 1405 after a fire. It was restored in 1854–55 by James Fowler of Louth. The church has a prominent sandstone tower, and its west doorway is embellished with carvings, including depictions of Adam and Eve and the serpent, and a Paschal Lamb. I
St Andrew, Redbourne
14th–15th century
The church was largely rebuilt in the later part of the 18th century, although the south chapel was rebuilt in the early 19th century as a mausoleum for the Dukes of St Albans. It was restored in 1888 by local architect W. W. Goodhand. The east window contains painted glass by William Collins dating from about 1840, depicting the Last Judgment. I
St George, Goltho
c. 1640
This simple red brick church is built on the site of a former Saxon settlement. Alterations were made in the early 18th and the late 19th centuries. Two 17th-century gravestones have been incorporated into the floor of the nave.[235][236] II*
All Saints
, Great Steeping
All Saints is a simple Georgian-style church built on the site of an earlier medieval church. It was restored in 1908. A new church with the same dedication was built in 1891, and the old church was declared redundant in August 1973. II*
All Saints, Haugham
All Saints was designed by W. A. Nicholson to replace an earlier church on the site. Its ornate octagonal spire is supported by flying buttresses and is decorated with crockets. Except for a 15th-century font, a stoup and some memorial slabs, the fittings date from 1840. II*
St John the Baptist,
S. S. Teulon designed this brick church with its square short tower and apsidal east end. The interior is decorated in red, yellow and black brick, and it is floored with polychrome encaustic tiles. The church closed in 1983, and was declared redundant the following year. II
St Helen,
Little Cawthorpe
A small church, seating only about 60 people, St Helen’s is built in red brick and decorated with bands of black brick. At its west end is a bellcote surmounted by a broached spirelet and a weathercock. The church was declared redundant in April 1996. II

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