The church of St Michael and All Angels at Langtoft is a familiar landmark just off the busy A15, just to the north of Market Deeping as you head towards Bourne. I had visited here on a couple of occasions before, but made a return trip in September 2013, armed with my Nikon.It was good to see the church open, as it has been closed on previous visits. Members of the congregation here host a coffee morning every Saturday and I was to be the last customer of the day, arriving just before noon. A nice friendly lot of people, including the curate, were on duty and it was good to get such a decent welcome.
Despite the close proximity to the A15 it was quiet and peaceful inside the church, apart from the sounds of washing up coming from the kitchen, and it was good to see inside.
The present structure here dates from the early 13th century but it is thought that an earlier church sttod on the same site, being roughly of the same size. Nothing of that earlier structure remains. The tall, elegant three stage tower and spire date from the 13th century and is slightly offset to the north. According to the church information booklet, several of the church dimensions are imperfect and off centre, I heard once that church architects sometimes deliberately built their churches fflawed" so to speak and less than perfect to demonstrate that Man is far from perfect in relation to God.
A quick look back to North's Victorian study of Lincolnshire church bells showed that there were five bells hanging here at that time. Two of these were cast locally by The Stamford Bellfoundry, with Thomas Norris casting both. Both have the inscription "Thomas Norris Made Mee 1662". The Norris family were prolific bellfounders in the area, operating throughout the 17th century and in to the early years of the 18th century.
One bell was cast in 1772 by Edward Arnold of Leicester and two were added by Mears of London, later to become the Whitechapel bellfoundry, in 1810 and 1825. Today, all these years later these five bells still call the faithful to worship, but a sixth bell was added in 2004 by Taylor of Loughborough.
A couple of things took my attention upon entering. The first is that there are two fonts inside the church. One is where you would expect it to be, at the west end of the church. A second can be found in the south aisle and is not used for Christenings today.
The second thing that stood out was a beautiful lady chapel to the south of the church. This has been carpeted and is used for children's work during services. A really lovely place to spend some time in silent reflection and prayer.
The church is bright and welcoming. A chandelier hangs in the nave, this being the gift of Edwars Presgrave of Tongue End who passed away in 1759. Stone heads line the nave and high up an alabaster figure, kneeling in prayer, commemorates Elizabeth Moulsworth, who died in 1618.My interest was taken by one stone carving on the south side of the nave. This figure of a man was holding his hands to his ears, whilst being surrounded by foliage.
Outside there are some nicely carved gravestones, with one or two looking to me as if they dated back to the late 17th century. Looking up to the tower and there are a couple of gargoyles and some small human heads on the corbel string, with faces on some of these being contorted.
A nice church in an interesting part of South Lincolnshire. It journey up the A15 heading out of Peterborough is a rewarding experience for the church enthusiast with some interesting buildings to see. Spent an enjoyable time here with the locals then moved on to Bourne, my next point of call.