So, you will guess that I have become rather fond of the place! Morton is a reasonably large village just over a mile north of Bourne, and right at the very edge of the catchment area of this site. The church of St John The Baptist stands proudly at the end of the wide main street, with public house just off to the left and small village green immediately in front.
It is thought that the present structure started to be built in the second quarter of the 14th century, with perhaps building being halted for a time as the Black Death swept the country. Building continued until well in to the 15th century. The result is a stunning, cruciform structure, perpundicular in nature, which dominates the landscape for miles around.
Entry to the church is through an original 15th century door, complete with original fittings. The octagonal font also dates from the 15th century, and features emblems from the Passion carved on to shields. Much stained glass here, including a remarkable window depicting the beheading of John The Baptist. Most of the stained glass was installed in the early 1860's, with the church undergoing heavy restoration at that time.
The picture below left, is also worth a little extra explanation. The ancient "Grafitti" pictured below comes from the bottom of a stained glass window on the interior south wall, It appears that grafitti is not a modern problem with Robart signing his name under the window in 1642. There are some even earlier examples elsewhere with Lawrence from Boston and Marie (surname illegible) both also carving their names under a different window in 1626. Up on the roof, H Gill carved his/her name into the lead on the roofroof in 1899, 1903 and 1907!
Gargoyles surround the tower and there are six bells. Three of these were cast by Thomas Eayre at the Kettering bell foundry. All of these are dated 1755, with one of these bearing the name John Sympson, church warden.
A further bell was also cast at Kettering in 1816, but the founder was Thomas Osborne, who was foreman at the Kettering foundry whilst it was run by the Eayres family.This bell has the name of the rector Samuel Hopkinson and the church warden John Lambert inscribed on it.
A further bell was cast by John Briant of Hartford and is dated 1798. The final bell is a relatively modern piece of work, being cast by Taylor & Co of Loughborough in the 1890’s.
Church grounds are well maintained and there are a varied number of graves, both ancient and modern. As with other churches in the area there are some finely carved slate graves. Given that they are slate, they have weathered very well. Some of the finest examples here, and in the locality, have the name Fish of Bourne carved at the bottom of them.
Fine quality work indeed, but the same can't be said for the very crudely styalised human skulls found on a grave to the east of the church grounds, pictured below right. Rustic and charming!
A grave at the front of the church grounds, just to the left hand side of the path in to the west porch is definitely worthy of a little closer scrutiny. The stone commemorates one Richard Lister, who died at the age of 34 on July 29th 1827. This is still very moving, 180 years after his death. The inscription reads as follows.....
Stop traveller, and drop a tear, My time is gone, and yours draws near, Oh my dear friends, prepare in time,
for i was called in my prime, In love he lived, in peace he died, his life was craved, but God denied,,
go home dear wife, and child so dear, I must lie here, until Christ appears,, and if you will, from grief refrain,,
I hope in Christ we'll meet again.
There have been many benefits to setting up and running this site. One of these benefits is in having visited Morton for the first time! There have been many subsequent visits. I have eaten many meals in the pubs in Morton and neighbouring Hacconby, have worshiped at Morton Baptist Chapel and have even stayed at neighbouring Hansthorpe a few times.
Morton holds a yearly street fair, and in past years they have organised trips up the tower. I went up in 2008 and was rewarded with some very fine views out over the fields. Given its close proximity, the church at neighbouring Hacconby, just a mile away over the fields, was easily visible. Another church spire was also discernible and I think that this might have been the tower at Dunsby.
Well worth a visit id you are in the area.The church of St John The Baptist is normally open to visitors throughout the day.