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Church of St Denys, Sleaford



Reference Name MLI82716

Name:
Church of St Denys, Sleaford

Summary:
The Church of St Denys dates from the late 12th century.

Location:
SLEAFORD, NORTH KESTEVEN, LINCOLNSHIRE

Description:
The Church of St Denys dates from the late 12th, with the tower dating to c.1180, and the spire to c.1220. It is built of Ancaster stone and forms one of the earliest examples of stone broach. Large parts of the church were rebuilt after it was struck by lightning in 1884. There is a 14th century Decorated nave and aisles extending westwards, and a large north transept has been added. A clerestory was added c.1430 when the chancel was remodelled. The outer north aisle was added in 1853 by Kirk and Parry, re-using old windows. There is a particularly good mid 14th century tracery and ornament, and a series of carved corbels and heads in the nave included a Turkish man and woman. A medieval rood screen exists, retaining the original platform and pulpitum. The balustrade and rood were restored by Sir Ninian Comper in 1918. The communion rail, said to be by Wren, is from Lincoln Cathedral. There is a Decorated font, much repaired. The north aisle has a piece of 17th century Sheldon tapestry. Fittings include a 17th century dole cupboard, and a desk with 15 chained books. There is a peal of eight bells, which were cast in 1796. Carre monuments. A 15th century window, removed from West front in 1884 restoration, has been reconstructed and stands at east end of churchyard. For the full description and the legal address of this listed building please refer to the appropriate List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. {1}{2}{3}{4}{5}{6}

Stained glass in this church dates to the 14th-15th centuries. {7}

Several areas of previously concealed stonework were exposed and recorded in January 2000, during archaeological monitoring of floor alterations within the church. The works were located near the south porch, and revealed portions of the north and south walls, and parts of the bases of the two tower piers, including a medieval grave cover that had been re-used as part of the south pier base. The grave cover had been decorated with a floriate cross, of a type that is dateable to the 13th and 14th centuries. {8}{9}

Further areas of previously concealed stonework were exposed and recorded in February 2002, during archaeological monitoring of a second phase of floor alterations. These works were located around the three easternmost piers, and revealed their foundation courses. Deposits likely relating to the late 19th century restoration of the church were also revealed, and a triangular piece of zinc, thought to be a fragment from a probable furniture moulding template, was also recovered. {10}{11}

The medieval foundations of the western part of the south aisle wall were recorded in November 2003, during archaeological monitoring of new drainage works in the churchyard. The foundations were set within a large foundation trench, and comprised dressed limestone exterior faces with a limestone rubble core. Several pieces of medieval tile, including one fragment of glazed ridge tile of probable Bourne type, were recovered in the surrounding graveyard deposits, suggesting that the church was roofed with this material in the medieval period. A fragment of slightly later painted window glass was also recovered, giving information about how the church was decorated in the 16th and 17th centuries. {12}{13}

Five burial vaults of post-medieval date were recorded in January 2014, during archaeological monitoring of groundworks for the construction of a new toilet inside the church. The vaults were all brick-lined, constructed of hand-made brick laid in stretcher bond, and were cut into a heavily disturbed graveyard soil layer from which fragments of disarticulated human bone were identified. Three of the vaults contained adult human skeletons, with the remaining two being infilled. Although their exact date could not be determined, the presence of coffin furniture in some of the vaults, and the fact that the deposition of remains within churches was forbidden after the 1850s, would suggest that the vaults are likely to date to the 18th or early 19th centuries. Overlying the vaults was a layer of made ground, likely dating to the 19th century, when the floor of the church was resurfaced. Finds recovered from this layer included post-medieval pottery, glass, clay pipe, metalwork and a stone tile, suggesting the deposit originated from a midden, rather than general waste from the church. {14}{15}

Sources:
1 Index: Department of the Environment. 1974. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Sleaford. 697/1/1 (402.115)
2 Bibliographic Reference: Pevsner, N. and Harris, J., with Antram, N.. 1989. Buildings of England (Second Edition). Lincolnshire. pp.650-3
3 Index: SMR. Sites and Monuments Record Card Index. TF 04 NE: BN
4 Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Card Index. TF 04 NE: 13
5 Bibliographic Reference: White, William. 1856. History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire - Second Edition. p.435
6 Bibliographic Reference: Trollope, Edward. 1872. Sleaford and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Aswardhurn in the County of Lincoln. pp.140-67
7 Bibliographic Reference: Hebgin-Barnes, Penny. 1996. The Medieval Stained Glass of the County of Lincolnshire. pp.257-8
8 Intervention Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2000. Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. APS site code: SDC 00
9 Excavation Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2000. Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. LCNCC 2000.48
10 Intervention Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2002. Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. APS site code: SDC 02
11 Excavation Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2002. Archaeological Watching Brief of floor alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. LCNCC 2000.48
12 Intervention Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2004. Service Trenches at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. APS site code: SDC 03
13 Excavation Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2004. Service Trenches at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. LCNCC 2000.48
14 Intervention Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2014. St Denys' Church, Sleaford. APS site code: SLSD 14
15 Excavation Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2014. St Denys' Church, Sleaford. LCNCC 2014.10

Links:
Lincolnshire County Council is not responsible for the content of external weblinks.
The following reports are available from the ADS digital library.
10 Intervention Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2002. Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. APS site code: SDC 02
12 Intervention Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2004. Service Trenches at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. APS site code: SDC 03

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Last updated: 06-December-2017 13:53:23

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