I first visited the church of St Michael at Edenham back in the early days of shooting for this site. It was the summer of 2007 and I visited here during a six day tour of South Lincolnshire. Having only a quite basic digital camera at that time it was always my intention to pop back one day. This finally happened at the end of February 2015. No point in rushing these things!
Edenham was the first point of call on what was to be a bright but very windy day. I had cycled in from neighbouring Hanthorpe, Grimsthorpe castle looking magnificent a couple of miles distant, as I reached high ground. The church of St Michael was nestling behind some trees off to my left, and gradually came in to view, with much of it covered in scaffolding! This pretty much limited exterior shots.What you see here is the photos that could be taken, which did not show the scaffolding. The church was still open and was as welcoming as ever, with the friendly rector ensuring that I had been inside and looked around. Sadly though, a few things that I wanted to see had dust sheets on them and the overall shoot suffered a little as a result.
The church itself peers out from behind some fine cedar trees, which are growing in the church grounds. The biggest of these hangs out over the main road going past the church and is thought to be more than 150 years old. The 16th century tower is a four stage affair and has some finely carved gargoyles just underneath the castleated top. One of these is lionlike in appearance whilst another is a human figure with questioning expression and bulging eyes. Fine work. Don't think that these are massively old, possibly Victorian in date.
When Thomas North was compliling his study of the church bells of Lincolnshire, which was published in 1882, there were five bells hanging here. Thgree dated from the early to mid nineteenth century and were cast by Thomas Mears of London. The other two are older and more interesting. The fourth of the ring was dated 1721 and was cast by Peterborough founder Henry Penn. This bell has inscribed on it the names John Bacon and Robt Allen, the church wardens of the day. Michael Lee's excellent book on Penn states that the date of this bell though is 1712.
The fifth of the ring in the 1880's was cast locally by Thomas Norris of the Stamford bellfoundry. This is inscribed with the name Thomas Doncombe, the rector of the day.
Things are much differnt today with ten bells hanging here. A sixth was added in 1909, two more in 1931 and a further two more in 1885. All of the twentieth century bells were added by Taylors of Loughborough.
The present tenor bell is thought to have been cast using metal from a bell from the Abbey of Valle Dei, which stood in nearby Grimesthorpe Park.
Small parts of the church here date back as far as the 8th century. Two small carved roundels on the south wall of the nave are dated to that point, as is the shaft of a cross, now to be seen in the nave. On one side is a curious headless figure with long arms and pencil thin legs, on the other is a crouched human figure in a niche below an abstract pattern.
With the exception of those few very early survivals, the present structure dates from the 12th and 13th centuries, with more work undertaken during the 15 the 15th centuries. Inside, the chancel archa nd the nave arcades date from the 13th century whilst in the north aisle there is a doorway which came from the 12th century chapel of ease and nearby Scottlethorpe. This was put into its present position in 1967. The font is thought to date from the late 12th century.
Stained glass here is of good quality. One panel depicts St Paul in chains, watched over by a guard, as he dictaes what was to become a large part of the New Testement. Close by is a scene from Acts Chapter 12 where Peter, the Keys to the Kingdon of Heaven dangling from his wrist, is helped from captivity by an angel, with the prison guards sleeping in the background.
Other Bible passages depicted include Jesus raising a young girl from the dead and the feeding of the 5,000 with loaves and fishes. A large window shows Jesus, post cricifiction, hand raised showing wound, with radiant glowing nimbus. To Jesus right is a worshiping angel with crossed arms. The wings of the angel are vibrant blue and red and the hands seem a little oversized. Traditionally oversized hands was used as a symbol of piety.
There are many monuments here with the oldest being the praying figure of a lady dating from the 13th century. Close by is a 14th century monument of a Knight and Lady, displaying the shields of the Simeon and Neville arms. A dog and what could possibly be a bedesman can be seen at the feet of the lady and another animal is at the feet of the man.
Monuments here, and outside in the church grounds, can be seen to the Bertie and Willoughby of Eresby families, as well as the the Dukes of Ancaster. Mmeorials to the Heathcote family were moved here from the church at Normanton Rutland, when that church was threatened with the creation of Rutland Water.
I enjoyed my time here but, as mentioned earlier, the shoot suffered due to what was out of bounds. The chancel was cordoned off and several items in the nave were under wraps. The south side of the church was covered in scaffolding so I missed out on seeing some finely carved 13th century stonework around the area of the south porch. Back on to the cycle and back out in to the headwind, as I headed towards Swinstead, Creeton, Corby Glen and then Burton Le Coggles, the latter also being encased in scaffolding.