Haconby is a village three miles north of Bourne, not too far off of the busy A15. There are two places of worship in the village with a tiny baptist church a little way away from the Anglican church. This baptist church was built in 1867 and it was designed to seat 100 people. However, the builders got the dimesnions wrong and made it too narrow. It was not possible to seat the 100 people required so two balconies were installed to increase the seating. The building is so narrow that someone in the balcony can actually shake hands with a person in the opposite balcony! The baptist chapel here is the smallest gallery seated chapel in the whole country.
I visited Haconby in March 2010 and it was good to see that the scaffolding had been taken down. On my previous visit here the whole of the tower was scaffolded and the church grounds had been closed after St Andrew had been damaged in the Lincolnshire earthquake of February 2008.
The scaffolding was down, the church grounds were open, and had been given a very good make over and the whole place looked quite beautiful. The sun was shining and the light quality was exquisite! It was a delight to be here.
There was a church and a priest mentioned here at the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086, with these being in the possession of Heppo The Crossbowman. Nothing of that early structure remains, with the earliest parts of the present structure dating back to the early 13th century.. The heavily buttrerssed14th century tower is very distinctive, with alternate differing colours of ironstone and limestone banding. The pinnacled spire dates from a little later. A corbel string separates the tower from the spire and this features several heads, one of which, on the south side, is that of a dog. Perhaps, like at Fotheringhay in Northants, this might be a memorial to a beloved pet belonging to a stonemason all those hundreds of years ago. The south porch and nave are both battlemented. The church here was struck by lightning in July 1877, with damage costing £120 to repair, with repair to the tip of the spire visible today.
Four bells hang here with three of these being cast by Henry Oldfield II in 1596. These are inscribed as follows...."Feare God and Keape His Lave 1596", "God Save Our Quene 1596" and "God Save His Church 1596" The word "Lave" on the first bell should read Love! The fourth bell is even older, being cast as far back as 1530 by Mellours of Nottingham. This bell is inscribed with the word "INESVS", which is a strange spelling of the name Jesus. On my visit I was able to see inside the church, although it is usually kept locked. I noticed a bell standing at the west end of the interior. This was plain in design and I have no information on who cast it.
The font here is plain, and very ancient, dating back to the 12th century. The base that it stands on is modern, dating from the 20th century. The pulpit dates back to the 14th century. I was interested to see several instances of people carving their initials, or sometimes their full name in to the interior church walls. This is similar to that seen at neighbouring Morton where initials were carved under the south windows of the nave. At Haconby, RB was here in 1718, as was RichTomlinson (undated). Just to prove that graffiti is not just a modern day occurrence, these all appear to date from the 18th century.
A large stained glass window in the chancel was in memory of James and Emma Measures, this being donated by their children.This includes a scene showing Jesus Christ carrying a lamb, with a quote from Psalm 23 underneath. This lovely piece of work is quite modern, dating from 1937.
The church grounds here are quiet and peaceful. The village is tucked away at the south eastern edge of the village and there is very little traffic here. Haconby Fen is just off to the east (and having got lost there once I can confirm that there is nothing there!!. A little over to the south west stands the imposing tower of St John The Baptist at neighbouring Morton. As was mentioned earlier, the church grounds here were closed for a while the church was being repaired following the Lincolnshire earthquake. It was good to see the scaffolding down and the grounds once again open.
Regular readers of this website will probably know of my interest in deaths head stones, gravestones with symbols carved on them depicting the mortality of Man. These symbols were used at a time when most of the population were illiterate, in the same way that wall paintings explained Bible stories to those who could not read. Death head symbolism phased out as more of the population could read and the symbols were replaced with text, intended to convay the same message, that Man is Mortal and will one day pass away. An inscription on the grave of one Charlotte Dring, who passed away in 1837, aged 27 years, can be seen here, and reads as follows...."From off my bed of pain and grief, the LORD has set me free; so don't lament but in due time, prepare to follow me". Hope that has cheered everyone up!
One slate grave here is a fabulous piece of work. Sadly, it has seen better days and is not in siut, now leaning up against another gravestone. This is intricately carved in slate, with two fabulous winged angels at top right and left. Given that it is slate, the carving here is as crisp as it would have been when it was carved in 1737.
The church here is normally kept locked to visitors. I was having a pub lunch and a man approached me who had heard that I was photographing churches in the area. He was very kind to open up for me and this was appreciated very much. A lovely place to visit and well worth a look if you are in the area.