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Photographing Norman churches in Lincolnshire along the Ancholme villages

If you’ve read my previous blog post you’ll know that I’ve been getting interested in the architecture and history found in Norman churches in Lincolnshire. There is an abundance of these in many of the villages close to my home in Hibaldstow.

Now the interest is growing, I decided to do some more reconnaissance to find churches with interesting features.

I planned to drive a loop from Home, through Waddingham and Bishopbridge, pass through Kingerby and Kirkby, then North Owersby, to Thornton le Moor and then visit South Kelsey and North Kelsey before heading home via Hibaldstow Bridge.

Unfortunately I’d picked a very wet day to go out. The weather was simply too bad to make pictures until I reached Thornton le Moor (although the churches in the first view villages I passed through will be worth a second visit).

Here the church is accessible but only by request of a key from a local property but the outside of the building has a few interesting features.

Some carved stone heads surround the stained glass windows, the one on the North wall of the church has a strange grin on its face.

The figurehead on the opposite side of the arched frame has either weathered away or been damaged to the point it is not recognisable

The south wall has a figurehead which has a very pious expression.

Again as with the Northern window frame described above, the left hand figurehead has suffered for its age. Could these have been deliberately defaced? Or is it just coincidence?

I’m starting to notice a pattern here. Frames of stained glass windows in some of these churches commonly have 2 figureheads at the base of each end of the arched surround. Usually, one male and 1 female. The female head is most frequently on the left. More research is needed here but I’m sure there must be some story behind this practice?

Next I travelled to South Kelsey and the church of St Margaret with St Nicholas and my first surprise of the day.

From the outside it’s obvious there is a very early Norman tower but the rest of the building appears to be of much later construction. On entering the church I discovered an effigy of a Norman knight of the 13th Century. I used a single wireless speed light to light the effigy who is depicted lying down with his feet resting on a dog.

The figure is set into the walls of the more modern end of the church meaning it is difficult to get an uncluttered shot but hopefully this pic should give you an idea of the lighting setup.

Next onto North Kelsey and All Hallows’ Church. It’s a tricky one to get a good view with the entire church in the frame due to the close proximity to the road so I avoided shooting outside and headed indoors for a look around. The church is very old inside and has lots of dark wooden features but guess what? I came upon that theme again with the figureheads this time on an arched doorway. One male figurehead in the right and one female on the left.

There is also a relief work tomb at the back of the church but there is no inscription just a cruciform motif along the full length of the tomb. Something worth going back for.

So there is more research to do and more churches to visit and hopefully one day this ‘grail quest’ could grow into enough works for an exhibition.

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