Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Gunby Hall II The Church of St Peter

Beyond the Victorian shrubery at the far end of the garden at Gunby Hall sits the parish church of St Peter - alone it feels among the great fields of pasture.  The village is nowhere to be seen.  In fact I don't think there's a village at all, just a few houses sitting uncomfortably on the very busy A 158.
St Peter's is a relatively small, aisleless Victorian church built 1868-70 by James Fowler of Louth, replacing an earlier Georgian structure.  A comfortable estate church, it has a porch to the south and vestry etc to the north. James Fowler, 1828-92, was a prolific provincial architect, the restorer of many churches in the north of the county and builder also of churches at Binbrook, Hatton and Spridlington.  Perhaps his greatest work is the enormous church of St Swithun in Lincoln, built between 1869 and 1887 for the Lincoln industrialist Alfred Shuttleworth. Just as at St Swithun's the masonry at Gunby is hammer dressed.  The tower is perhaps the best feature: a good composition and a re-interpretation in the Early English style of a Lincolnshire Decorated Gothic tower - the kind of thing you will find at Silk Willoughby south of Sleaford.  The interior is maybe a little earth-bound but is well preserved Mid-Victorian - mildly Tractarian, with encaustic tiles etc.  Importantly, it is very well cared for, the interior not spoilt with a jostle of notice boards etc.  The care even extended to little springs of lavender on each pew (visible in the bottom image).

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