As always, the church of St John The Baptist at Baston was open and welcoming. There is a pretty good record of open churches in this part of South Lincolnshire with churches at Deeping St James, Morton and Bourne normally open for visitors with Thurlby and Langtoft opening on a Saturday morning, the latter for a weekly held coffee morning.
There was a church mentioned in Baston at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086.. No part of that structure remains now though. Work on the present building started in the 12th Century.
The tower of St John The Baptist can be seen from the nearby busy A15. The church is in the centre of the village, close to the local pub, as they so often are. Despite the close proximity of the main road in to Peterborough, it is calm and peaceful in the church grounds.
The main door in to the church is thought to date from as early as the mid 17th Century, with this possibly being part of a restoration after damage caused during the Civil War. To prove that vandalism is not a purely modern day occurrence, there are initials carved in to the door, with one having the date of 1751. This sort of graffiti is quite common, but I have seen more in South Lincolnshire than anywhere else.
The tower is perpundicular in design, dating it to the 15th Century. The top of the tower is castelated with pinacles on each of the four corners. The chancel at the east end was rebuilt by the Victorians. Gargoyles surround the tower. At one point these would have been very fine pieces of work. Those on the west and south sides of the tower appear to have fared a little better over the years, but all are suffering from the ravages of time, but then again, aren't we all!
There are six bells in the tower. Two of these were cast by the Stamford Bellfoundry in the 1690's, with Tobias Norris III being the founder. One comes courtesy of Edward Arnold of Leicester whilst two were cast in the early 1700's by William Noone, who operated from premesis in Nottingham. One bell is modern, being cast by Taylor of Loughborough in 1968 and one of Noone's and one of Norris' bells were re-cast by Taylors in Victorian times.
The clock on the tower dates from 1903, and was a memorial to the Coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. In the early 1950's, this clock was painted and overhauled at the expense of Baston Rifle Club as a memorial to three men of the village who were killed in the Second World War.
The church grounds here are neat and tidey, and stretch away for a great distance to the east. Graves are mostly Georgian close to the church, moving on to Victorian and Edwardian the further from the church that you go. To my mind, the Victorians were not for the most part upholders of good taste and some of the graves here from this period are very large, ornate and ostentatious.
There used to be a chapel in Baston, immediately to the north of the church. The building is still there, but now being used as a car showroom. An enjoyable three quarters of an hour spent here. Always a delight to spend some time here. Made my way back to the bus stop waiting for the Delaine taking me on to neighbouring Thurlby, my next stop on this gloriously sunny Saturday.
The church of St John The Baptist at Baston doesn't have the wow factor of Castor, Barnack or Fotheringhay. In the grand scheme of things it probably doesn't have massive historical significance in relation to some of the other churches featured on this site. However, this church is one of my favourites. It is a decent, honest, village church with a friendly and welcoming manner about it. I am very fond of it!
I first visited the church here during the early days of shooting for this site, and have been back on several occasions. However, armed with a new camera, I decided to go back during September 2013 and do a complete re-shoot. All photographs on here are from that shoot. Since my first visit here lots of work had been done inside the church. The old box pews had gone, being replaced by new chairs, and the floor had been re-laid.