Coates in a small village three miles east of Whittlesey, just at the side of the busy A605. It is a 45 minute walk from Whittlesey. I can vouch for this as I missed my bus back to Whittlesey after photographing the church here and had to walk! The church is set back from the main road a hundred yards or so, and is set in picturesque surroundings. A large green stands to the east of the church with the other sides of the church being surrounded by trees and bushes.
There is virtually no information on this church to be found on the internet. The structure is Victorian and, as far as I am aware, there was no previous church on this site. The church of Holy Trinity dates from 1840, and is a fairly basic structure of nave, aisles and chancel with, unusually, a tower and spire situated on the north east corner of the building. The tower and spire are slender, with a single small bell hanging here, which was cast by Thomas Mears II in 1840.. There was restoration here in 1874 and again in 1890 and the tower was partially restored in 1902. One piece of information that I did fine on the internet was that the church was built for £1,178.
There is a south porch, and another entrance at the base of the tower. The church was open, with a cheerful sign outside reading 'Peas be with you. Welcome to the church'. It was lovely to see this church open, as on a previous visit it had been closed, with no indication of keyholder. This is encouraging and I was told later on that day that other churches in the area, such as at Whittlesey and Pondersbridge, were also now opening their doors to visitors.
Inside, and the church is bright and welcoming. Walls are white washed and there are some decent stained glass windows. One window shows Jesus, surrounded by children, linking up nicely to an inscription on a cross in the churchyard, which I will come to in a few moments. Another window shows St Francis, with a beautiful bright blue bird flying close to him. Carved heads can be seen on the pillars in the nave. I found this very tastefully done and attractive.
The church grounds are well maintained and there are a couple of very large trees at the back of the church. The whole place was quiet, and very attractive, particularly on a sunny afternoon with the sun starting to set and the shadows lengthening. A lovely place. To the south of the church grounds stands a large cross with an inscription on it which reads..."Let the little Chilren come to me, do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs"which is from the Gospel of Mark Chapter 10 verse 14.
As was mentioned earlier, there was almost certainly no church on this site prior to 1840, and therefore it is reasonable to assume that you would find nothing in the church grounds earlier than that date. Not so though! I was most surprised to find a stone Roman coffin at the back of the church. A very good example as well, albeit without lid, which has a cut out to support the head of the deceased. Stone Roman coffins can be found at several churches within the catchment area of this site, but I have only seen one with the head support at Barnack near to Stamford.
I had thought that the area of Eastrea and Coates had been under water until the Fens were drained here in the 17th century. Therefore, the sight of a Roman coffin here surprised me. A little research though showed that a Roman skeleton was dug up at nearby Eastrea in 2010, so the Romans were inhabiting the area. I tried to get some information from the church on when and where this coffin was found. They were unsure but did suggest that it might have been possible for a previous Rector to have obtained it and brought it back to church grounds from elsewhere.
There is no wow factor here. What we have here is a very pleasing church in pleasant surroundings and I really enjoyed my brief stay here.