St Nicholas Church Addlethorpe near Skegness Lincolnshire England UK
Our Visit to Addlethorpe Church
Arriving unannounced at St Nicholas’ church one Sunday morning, more attired for filming rather than a church service, we were very warmly greeted by the churches’ team of bell ringers. One elderly chap was more than willing to act as our guide and thus proved to be a mine of information. On unlocking the church door, he scurried for a sweeping brush and briskly commenced sweeping the bat droppings aside from coconut mat in the outer entrance. Pausing, elbow on brush, he said that Lincolnshire generally supported the Parliamentarian cause and St Nicholas’ would have been a very `high’ church, which the Parliamentarians distrusted. He conjectured that when it was built, it was too large for the meagre population of Addlethorpe.
Our guide told us that the peasants of old were confined to worshipping in this outer area (the area just inside the door as seen in the photograph left), only the wealthy being allowed in the actual church itself.
He drew our attention to the simple font (left), built into the corner of the wall, telling us that the peasants would have had their children baptised in this font, and would indeed have had thier marriage services performed in the outer area. Stone seats ran down each side of the wall.
Instructing us to look upwards immediately inside the main door, our guide pointed out an inset stone in which was carved ‘The Green Man’ (right), a rather grotesque face with a protruding tongue. The Green Man is a pagan fertility symbol, the tongue apparently having sexual connotations. The church being built in the 1400s, the people were not long out of paganism.
The huge wooden door leading to the main body of the church, had a smaller, cutout door (left). Looking down, we could see the foot hole which the churchgoers had worn into the stonework over the hundreds of years. Our guide told us that the door is original and remains exactly as it was when first built.
The chancel (the space around the altar of a church for the clergy and sometimes the choir, often enclosed by a lattice or a railing), was pulled down in 1706, he informed us. He calculated that it must have been around this time when the stained glass windows were knocked out, leaving only a small remnant as an example for us to view today.
Stooping and stepping through the door into the main church area, we were taken aback by the richness of the wood of the pews.
We were informed that most of the woodwork in the church and the rafters were original and are exactly how they were when first built in the 1400s.
All the screens and pews carvings are 15th century.
Left – 15th century oak timbers removed during restoration of the south aisle.
Below – 15th century timber rafters
Left – pews insalled in Elizabethan times
Left – ornate carving on the backs of the Elizabethan pews
Right – example of Elizabethan Script
We have no confirmation as to what these five items are (right).
The ‘faces’ are made from wood and the mounts are metal.
The accompanying label reads
‘Our duty done in Belfry high
Now voiceless tongues at rest we lie
The years have passed they used us plenty
For we were made in seventeen seventy’
I conject that they are the old clappers removed from the bells during restoration work. Anyone agree, disagree? Your comments are welcome.
Our visit to St Nicholas’ Church Addlethorpe culminated in a treat to the Sunday Morning Bell Ringing Ritual. Nora, one of the lady campanologists (bell ringers) came over to us to describe the opening procedures; she explained that the bells needed to be ‘rung up’ in preparation for the actual pealing. This entailed pulling on the ropes until each bell was positioned mouth upwards and resting against a wooden steak. Only then could the bells be rang through a full 360 degree circle.
All bells ‘rang up’, pealing began!
Our Visit to St Nicholas Church Addlethorpe Lincolnshire England UK
The movie takes a tour around the 15th century church
Camcorder Movies by Skegness Video
Bell Ringing at St Nicholas Church Addlethorpe Lincolnshire England UK
See also video of Church Bells ringing from close range
Bells in the Belfry from a Bat’s Eye View
Photographs on this page are captured frames from a camcorder movie by SkegMag with the exception of the photograph of the Church Exterior which is the copyright of paulgoochimages.org used with permission.