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Church of St Botolph, Sleaford

Description: Church of St Botolph

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 16 July 1949
English Heritage Building ID: 191870

OS Grid Reference: TF0541144468
OS Grid Coordinates: 505411, 344468
Latitude/Longitude: 52.9872, -0.4312

Location: Town Road, Sleaford, Lincolnshire NG34 8RT

Locality: Sleaford
Local Authority: North Kesteven District Council
County: Lincolnshire
Country: England
Postcode: NG34 8RT

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Listing Text

697/7/56 TOWN ROAD

The oldest visible fabric is the early C13 N aisle added to an older church of uncertain date. Tower added and S wall of the nave rebuilt and enlarged in the early C14. Further work in the post medieval period, now demolished. Chancel and extensive restoration and rebuilding of 1862-3, designed and built by Charles Kirk. Tower restored and partly rebuilt in 1887. Small, early C21 NW extension and conversion of the bottom of the tower to kitchen and other service facilities.

Ashlar and coursed stone rubble. Slate roofs.

Nave with N aisle, and W tower. Polygonal chancel with N transeptal chapel.

A small church with a tall tower and spire. There are no parapets or clerestory, and the N aisle covering is continuous with that of the nave. The tower and spire are mid C14. The tower has a W window of two lights, similar openings in the bell stage and a plain parapet. The pinnacles were replaced in 1887, and the polygonal spire has small, two-light lucarne openings. The nave S wall is also C14, and has three large windows, all heavily restored. Those to the E of the S door apparently follow earlier tracery patterns and have early C14 reticulation with hexagons and spherical triangles and hood-moulds with headstops. The tracery in the window to the W of the door was replaced in a C14 style in the C19, when probably C16 or C17 uncusped, transomed lights were removed. Good, early C14 S door with many fine mouldings, foliate capitals, head stops, and at the top a boss of a man putting his tongue out. There are late C14 windows with triangular heads in the N aisle and a late C12 style doorway with a pointed, chamfered opening, chamfered imposts and a hood mould. The chancel of 1862-3 is polygonal, and is in a C13 Westminster style, with two light geometric traceried windows. A richly carved inscription cornice records its construction in memory of Charles (d.1847) and Elizabeth Kirk, the parents of the architect and builder, Charles Kirk the younger. The NE transeptal vestry is in a late C13 style and has a good E window with intersecting Y-tracery with drooping trefoils.

The interior is high for its size. The arcade is of three bays, and has tall, round piers with stylised foliage capitals and chamfered arches of two orders with a hood mould. It is possible that the arcade was raised in the C14 to match the height of the S windows, which are notably large from the inside. Low, C14 tower arch of three continuous chamfered orders, closed with a solid, wooden screen. The N door has a triangular headed rerearch. Attractive C19 nave roof of trussed rafter form with curved braces giving the impression of an open barrel vault. Broad chancel arch of 1862-3 in a simple C13 style with short, round responds with moulded capitals and a chamfered arch. The chancel of the same date is in a rich, Lincoln and Southwell inspired style with shafts with excellent naturalistic floral capitals and corbels. It has a richly tiled floor and dado, and a good roof with a carved and painted inscription.

Two tiny, probably C14 piscinas in the nave. Polygonal C14 font with tracery and foliage on the tapering bowl. Cover dated 1856 with later decoration by Charles Shannon. C19 pulpit and low chancel screen with good Decorated-style tracery. C19 choir stalls with linenfold and rosettes. Excellent C19 encaustic and glazed tiles in the chancel, including a range of geometric patterns on the floor, and wheat and grape motifs on the dado. Additional good geometric tiling in the nave around the font base. Good C19 and early C20 glass, including fine chancel windows by Ward and Hughes, one in the nave signed H Hughes, another by Burlison and Grylls, and an interesting window of 1917 in the N aisle to members of the Barrett family. Another N aisle window is by Morris and Co of 1935. A few C18 and C19 wall tablets, including one to Romaine Hervey, d. 1837, a draped urn on a sarcophagus.

Lychgate, probably by Charles Kirk, of 1895. Some good monuments in the churchyard, including tall crosses to members of the Sharpe and Kirk families. Also a group of metal markers for members of the Shannon family, including the artist Charles Shannon (1863-1937), a well-known portraitist and figure painter.

Two churches in Quarrington are mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, one of which was presumably the present church (the other probably was the lost church of All Saints, Sleaford). It has no visible Anglo-Saxon fabric, but the very narrow chancel arch shown on a mid C19 plan might have been pre-Conquest. The earliest visible fabric is now the early C13 N arcade, but the long E respond suggests that it was added to an existing nave of uncertain, earlier date. Irregularities in the plan as existing in the mid C19 before the rebuilding of 1862-3, notably the asymmetric placement of the chancel arch in relation to the width of the nave and the tower, and the thickening of the SE and SW corners of the nave walls indicate that the nave was widened to the S, probably in the C14 when the tower was built. The patronage of the work is unknown, but the nave S windows and S door are very high quality.

A S porch was added at an uncertain, probably late or post medieval date, and the C14 SW nave window was apparently remodelled with uncusped lights and a transom in the C16 or even C17. The chancel was rebuilt and made smaller in the post-Reformation period, and a drawing of 1805 shows it with a range of a late C12 or early C13 lancet and two late C14 windows with square heads, presumably reset. It was again replaced in 1812 by the rector, Charles James Blomfield, later Bishop of London. His chancel was small and in a Georgian style with one wooden window. The N aisle was rebuilt and enlarged in 1848 and new furnishings including a pulpit, screens and what were apparently low box pews including some facing S, were installed in 1849. In 1859, the rector, Henry Hine paid for a new stone E window. The church was substantially remodelled in 1862-3 to designs by Charles Kirk, a local builder and architect, whose firm also carried out the work. He demolished the chancel and rebuilt it with a polygonal apse and a wider chancel arch. He also restored the nave windows, apparently along their original lines except for the SW nave window, replaced the nave roof, removed the S porch, and added the NE vestry (now the organ chamber). The tower was restored, and the upper part of the spire and the pinnacles rebuilt, in 1887. There was some refurbishment and refurnishing in the late C20, and in the early C21 a NW extension was rebuilt and the W end of the nave reordered.

Micklethwaite, Christopher. St Botolph, Quarrington: A Short History (n.d., early C21)
Pevsner, N and Harris, J., Buildings of England, Lincolnshire (2002), 605
Plans before and after Kirk's restoration, drawing of 1805 and mid C19 water colour, all preserved in the church

The church of St Botolph, Sleaford, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Parish church of the C13 or earlier, with an early C13 N aisle, C14 tower and spire.
* Two excellent C14 windows and a very good C14 door in the S nave wall.
* Chancel rebuilt and church restored in 1862-3 by Charles Kirk.
* Good C19 and C20 glass.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.