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English Church Architecture -



TEALBY, All Saints (TF 157 908)     (August 2009)

(Bedrock: Upper Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous, Spilsby Sandstone Formation)


The churches in or around the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, are most striking from a distance for the materials of their construction - oily-green Spilspy sandstone in the south between Mareham-le-Fen and Alford, and rusty-brown Claxby ironstone in the north above Hainton, which follow each other conformably in the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous Series.  Neither are very durable, but they are responsible for giving some of these buildings their charm and vernacular character.


All Saints’ church (shown left, from the southeast) is built of the latter stone and glows almost orange in afternoon sunlight.  Its appearance is marred on closer inspection, unfortunately, by the ungainly manner in which the intersecting tracery has been renewed in the three-light aisle windows.  (Cf. the unrestored windows, also with intersecting tracery, in the more picturesque church at neighbouring Walesby.) They probably date the main body of the church to the late thirteenth century even so, if only because the S. aisle E. window (illustrated right) is apparently original.  However, this Early English aisled nave was added to a very substantial Transitional tower, not much earlier in date than c. 1200 to judge by the pointed arch to the nave (left), composed of two orders, the outer unmoulded and the inner flat-chamfered and decorated with a little superimposed dog-tooth immediately above the springing.  Its other features considered alone would probably suggest an earlier date, for the arch has the great thickness characteristic of Norman work, the almost megalithic capitals to the jambs are decorated with scallops, and the dog-tooth moulding just described, soon gives way to billet higher up.  Other Norman features of the tower include:  (i) the little W. door (seen right),  with a round relieving arch above a modern lintel, and little abaci with chamfered under-edges; (ii) the little round-arched W. window above, carved on its exterior face with a small head and two birds;  and (iii) the much larger round arch inside, above the tower arch to the right, that was probably once a doorway to the ringing chamber, reached by a ladder from the nave.  The tower bell-stage is now a Perpendicular addition, with two-light bell-openings with supermullioned tracery.  The battlements and crocketed  pinnacles are probably the work of the restorer (apparently James Fowler of Louth, some time after 1881 - church guide).  The tower rises in four stages, supported by angle buttresses with an additional buttress in the centre of the S. wall.


The Norman nave and chancel were probably small and dark, so it appears it was decided to replace them c. 1280. As previously stated, the windows are now new, save only for the S. aisle E. window, which survives from this date, and the N. aisle W. window with reticulated tracery, which appears to have been inserted some fifty years later. However, although the thirteenth century windows have nearly all gone, the four-bay nave arcades (shown below in the interior view of the church from the west) remain from this time and are tall and well-formed, of double-flat-chamfered arches springing from octagonal piers and capitals differing slightly north to south.  The chancel arch copies the N. arcade in style, as shown by the narrower outer chamfer and the less rounded, more prominent capitals.  The flat chamfers borne by the S. arcade are more equal in width and the capitals are better proportioned. The implication may be that the N. aisle was built first, together with the new nave and chancel, and the S. aisle was added shortly afterwards, perhaps as an almost immediate addition to the original plan, but under the direction of a different mason, using his own set of drawings.  The long chancel is now largely James Fowler's work, with the exception of the easternmost N. window, which has reticulated tracery that appears to be contemporary with the W. window in the N. aisle.  The nave clerestory is Perpendicular and composed of three-light uncusped windows, with strong mullions but no tracery.


The church contains no significant old carpentry or monuments.   The niches in the chancel walls containing memorial inscriptions to various members of the Tennyson d’Eyncourts, are certainly ostentatious but have little else to be said for them.  The font consists of a plain octagonal bowl on a plain stem.