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Ruined Church, north-east of Wykeham Hall, East Wykeham

Reference Name MLI93238

Ruined Church, north-east of Wykeham Hall, East Wykeham

The probable site of the medieval church of East Wykeham and later a folly of a ruined church, constructed in 1864 over the Child family burial vault. The structure incorporates fragments from the earlier church.


Church ruins which were probably reconstructed as a folly in about 1800. The church was constructed of coursed limestone rubble with ashlar dressings. 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}

A programme of archaeological monitoring and building recording was conducted in December 2013, during works to consolidate the ruins of East Wykeham Church. The monitoring revealed the stepped entrance to a brick-built burial vault, underlying the ruins of the present church. A plaque within the vault states that it was built in 1864 by the Child family, who lived at the adjacent Wykeham Hall during the later 19th century. Four burial chambers within the vault are dedicated to Richard Beaumont Child, his wife Mary Louisa Child, his son George Beaumont Child, and Mary Hutchinson, the Child family servant. The vault matches most of the dimensions of the present overlying church ruins, suggesting they were constructed as a folly immediately after the vault's construction, though probably incorporating fragments from an earlier church on the site. {2}{3}

The medieval church at East Wykeham was dedicated to St Mary and was granted to Sixhills Priory in the mid twelfth century. Sixhills continued to present vicars to the church until the dissolution of the monasteries.{4}{5}

As the village of East Wykeham declined in population (see PRN40581), the number of parishioners able to support the church and its fabric decreased and the church gradually fell into disrepair. In July of 1519 a visitation by the Bishop of Lincoln recorded that in East Wykeham church they barely celebrated mass once a week and that the vicarage had completely collapsed.{6}

Vicars continued to be appointed to the church. Between 1585 and 1607 Richard Thornell was the parson although he resided elsewhere. In 1602 both the church and the chancel were described as being 'in some decay and likely to be in more want for that there are few or no parishioners'. In 1603 there were only three communicants in the parish.{7}

By 1637 the church was in ruins. In that year the Reverend Thomas Master travelled to East Wykeham to be inducted as the new parson at the church. He wrote a letter to his father describing his experiences. He took formal possession of his benefice in the ruins of the church in a meadow near the Hall. The Reverend Master described the ruins as those of a very small chapel.{8}

In the diocesan census returns of the early 18th century the entry for East Wykeham records the income of the benefice but no services were being held and the church is not mentioned. The incumbent resided at Wellingore.{9}

East Wykeham did continue as a parish into the nineteenth century but became extra parochial in the 1850s.{10}

In 1855 the Child family had purchased the village lands, including the site of the church, from the Pownall family who had themselves purchased them from the Jenkinsons in the 1750s. The Childs constructed a family vault on the site of the original church and reused some of the surviving stonework of this church in creating a folly within their park in 1864 (see above sources 2 and 3).{11}

1 Index: Department of the Environment. 1986. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. 6/20
2 Intervention Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2014. East Wykeham Church. APS site code: EWCH 13
3 Excavation archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2014. East Wykeham Church. LCNCC 2013.187
4 Bibliographic reference: Foster, C.W.. 1933. Registrum Antiquissimum II. pp.25 and 29
5 Bibliographic reference: Stenton, F. M. (ed.). 1922. Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses of Sixle, Ormsby, Catley, Bullington, and Alvingham. No.11, p.5; No.52, p.29; No.53, p.30, No.64, p.36
6 Bibliographic reference: Thompson, A. Hamilton. 1940. Visitations in the Diocese of Lincoln 1517-1531, vol.1, Visitations of Rural Deaneries by William Atwater, Bishop of Lincoln 1517-1520. p.73
7 Bibliographic reference: Foster, C.W.. 1926. The State of the Church in the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I. pp.86, 230, 241, 323, 426
8 Bibliographic reference: Sinclair, A. C.. 1992. 'A glimpse of Lincolnshire in 1637' in Lincolnshire Past and Present. vol.7, pp.18-19
9 Bibliographic reference: Cole, R.E.G.. 1913. Speculum Dioeceseos Lincolniensis sub Episcopis Gul: Wake et Edm: Gibson A.D.1705-1723. Part I Archdeaconries of Lincoln and Stow. p.141
10 Bibliographic reference: Page, W. (editor). 1906. The Victoria County History. Lincolnshire volume II. p.372
11 Bibliographic reference: William White. 1856. History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire - Second Edition. p.239

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The following reports are available from the ADS digital library.
2 Intervention Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2014. East Wykeham Church. APS site code: EWCH 13

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Last updated: 04-December-2016 14:51:11

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