Sunday, 14 May 2017

Church Crawl

My friend A came down from Lincoln yesterday and we went on a church crawl in the soft undulating country of south Kesteven.  We did six in all: Edenham, Irnham, Corby Glen, Swinstead, Careby and Carlby - three open and three locked.  It was a glorious day, the weather just right, the countryside lovely, the villages with their stone built houses were a delight.  I have known this part of the country all my life but had forgotten how deeply and satisfyingly beautiful it is. Hard to think that it was all barely a hundred miles from London.  In all an aesthetically and spiritually refreshing day.

Edenham.  Unfortunately the church, which stands on an ancient, perhaps pre-historic, mound in the midst of the valley of the Eden, was closed.  For repairs I think.  It is the main church of the Grimsthorpe Estate.  You can find out more about both Edenham and Grimsthorpe Castle on my earlier posts.

Irnham is a complete delight and, like Edenham, is an estate village, with any number of charming stone built cottages and a few larger houses such as the Baroque Newton House.  The church, beautiful and very atmospheric, stands cheek by jowl with the medieval Irnham Hall.  Perhaps our favourite.

Corby Glen is a former market town. It has its small Market place, and continues to hold an annual sheep fair in the Autumn. The large parish church stands above the village next to the Manor House, which, I think, is now the vicarage.  It retains some of its original Medieval wall paintings, some more legible than others.  We also visited the Willoughby Memorial Library and Art Gallery.  It is a little marvel.  A building of the utmost charm, built as a the village Grammar school in 1691 by Charles Reed it is surrounded by a fabulous garden - long herbaceous border and lines of pleached limes.  Perfect.  We were both taken by the Oeil-de-Boeuf window in the porch.  Fabulous.

On to Swinstead and back to the Grimsthorpe estate.  Like Edenham it is the burial place of the Willoughby d'Eresbys.  The most important monument here is to the 5th, and final, Duke of Ancaster, by Westmacott.

Careby church, in the water meadows of the river Glen.  Alas it was locked.

Finally Carlby.  High above the Glen and on the very border of Lincolnshire and Rutland.  It too was locked.

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