Sutton is a small village, which can be found just off of the busy A47, a mile and a half or so away from Castor. A quiet and peaceful village, one of those places where you wouldn't visit unless to have a need to visit. The church can be found on the beautifully named 'Lovers Lane'. It was one of the first churches that I visited in the early days of this site back in 2006, and it is still a favourite.
I was here in 2010 just before the pews were taken out, being replaced by new style chairs. I am sure that this annoyed some traditionalists but it made for the church more flexible in being able to put on events for the local community. And so it came to pass that David and myself arrived on a June evening in 2016, The church was being used to host a party for the Queen's 90th birthday. Friendly locals fed us with cake and then gave us the guided tour. It was lovely to see how proud they were of their church, and quite rightly so. Interior photographs are from that visit, exterior shots taken on a glorious winters day two years previously.
This church was originally built in 1120, as a Chapel-of-Ease to Castor. Originally, there would have been just a simple nave and chancel, until the south aisle was added some 50 years later. A chapel was added early in the 13th century, which was dedicated to St Giles, who was the Patron Saint of lepers ans cripples. The nave walls were raised in the 15th century and three clerestory windows were added at that time. As with most other churches, there was considerable restoration work undertaken at Sutton in Victorian times. The chancel and the south aisle were heavily restored in the 1860's.
There is much of interest in the interior of this church. There are similarities in the interior with the churches at Castor and Maxey, leading to the assumption that work on all three was undertaken by a workshop that operated from Castor in the early 12th century. The carvings on the capitals at either side of the chancel arch are exceptional. These are pictured below with a Green Man type figure with foiliage coming out of his mouth catching the eye.
Also of interest is a carved stone lion, with some kind of beast riding on its back. This is thought to be Norman and it is suggested that this might have been either a bench end or the sidepost of a flight of steps. This is pictured below and you will notice holes in it for carrying purposes.
There are several stained glass windows here, of decent quality. One window depicts the story of the good Samaritan whilst St George, with halo and angelic wings, slays a vividly coloured orange dragon in another.
There is a bellcote, which supports a single bell, which was cast by Taylors of Loughborough in 1914. The original bellcote dated from the 13th century, and housed two bells. This was rebuilt in the early 1930's. At the time of the renovations of the 1860's there was one bell which was made by J Warner and Son. Going back in to the very distant past, a church inventory in 1552 noted that there were two small bells, a Sanctus bell and two hand bells at St Michael.
On the south wall of St Michael's there are some very worn heads, including one that resembles a dog with floppy ears. There are also a couple of gargoyles over the north door. Quite nice pieces of work. In the church grounds a carved Saxon cross shaft has been built in to the wall of a dovecote at the rear of the church.
The church grounds are well kept and are probably at their best in the Spring, with loads of bulbs providing a blanket of colour.Some nicely carved Georgian gravestones can be seen, but there is nothing particularly of interest or rarity. A lovely church in a delightful village. The church here is normally open to visitors during the summer months.