History of the Church

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The 800 year old history of

St Andrew's Church

Kirton in Lindsey


Chirchetone in the Doomsday Book


St Andrew's is a church with a long history. The very name "Kirton" means "town of the church", which shows its importance in this area from the seventh century onwards. There are indications that the earliest church could well have been built on the site of a Roman temple. Certainly the Saxons built their place of worship here, though the remains of the structure are few. In about the year 1140, the original Saxon church was pulled down to be extensively enlarged and rebuilt in the English style. This, with the additions and renovations over the 800 years, is the church you can see here today.


Priest's Doorway and  Tympanum


Our church has played a central part in the town's history, undergoing many modifications through the ages. The oldest visible part is probably the priest's door, now set in the south wall of the chancel. Viewed fro the outside the arched stone, or tympanum, is a fine carving of close beaded interlace and foliage, with a chevron moulding above. However, the drawing below shows that the door itself was once a different shape.







Carved Pillars

The pillars of the north arcade are set on stones which once formed part of the wall of an earlier, perhaps Saxon, church.  These pillars themselves were built at the end of the 12th century, as shown by the style of carving along the capitals and are much finer than the later pillars of the south side.

 Detail of the carving on one of the north arcade pillars.



 The massive tower was erected in the 1200s. It has a splendid West Door with dogtooth carving, and good foliage carvings on the capitals of the jambs. Inside an unusual double arch leads to the nave. It is remarkable that the nave floor is higher than that of the tower and this is because of the old practice of burying people of importance within the church itself. 375 people were interred within St Andrew's according to the Ross manuscripts in Lincoln.

 The West Door



The South Porch 

The South Porch is now a place for private prayer, but was once the main entrance to the church and boasts a fine 14th century archway. It housed the baptismal fonts until the 1860s




Later Additions and Alterations

 In the 15th century the clerestory was added over the north and south aisles. At the same time the tower was strengthened with additional buttresses and decorated on top with a parapet and pinnacles.


In 1553, during the reign of Queen Mary, three great bells were installed in the tower, together with a sanctus bell. In 1798 six bells were cast by James Harrison of Barton upon Humber to replace the original three. Two more were added in 1982 to create a fine 8 bell peal.


In the 1860s the church was restored. The Rood Screen which had stood between the chancel and the nave since 1350 was removed and replaced by the existing chancel arch.   The entrance to the Rood Loft (removed in 1565) can be seen high up on the wall behind the organ. The Rood Screen has been preserved and is now housed in the specialised storage in an ecclesiastical repository.

 Above is a sketch of the faded mural

Also in 1860, during the restorations, a mutilated pre-reformation Mural was discovered. It depicts the crucifixion with Jesus' sacred wounds flowing to the seven sacraments. Unfortunately this has now faded and vanished.

A fine Arts and Crafts ceiling can be seen in the ringing loft chamber.


In 1874 an organ was installed, built be J W Walker and Sons, replacing the church orchestra. The nearby vicarage, now in private hands, was begun at the same time and lies to the south of the graveyard, which was closed in 1947. In 1900 the parishioners donated a clock for the tower to mark the turn of the century.


 The Windows

Above the Howlett window


The East Window above the the High Altar depicts the life of Christ in the centre panel, from his birth the bottom to his ascension at the top. The murder of Thomas Becket is in the left hand window and the right hand window shows the life of St Andrew was given by the Duckering family. Beside it on the south wall, the window depicts the building of Lincoln Cathedral and commemorates the Howlett family. Close by is the Selby window in memory of Re., H. R. Garvey.



 The Knight

An effigy of a knight, perhaps Sir Gilbert Waterhouse who served Henry III, can be seen between the nave and the Lady Chapel. This figure may have been defaced at the time of the Puritans. It was hidden for a while beneath the floor before it was rediscovered in 1862 and placed in its present position.


Click here for more information about his decedents   



The Medieval Altar


In 1936 the ancient altar now in the Lady Chapel was discovered beneath the tower and though it showed signs of wear, the five crosses of consecration were still visible. It has been repaired and restored to its original purpose, though during the reformation it was used as a threshold as an act of desecration. Graffiti can still be seen.

The Town  and its History


Because of the church, the town grew in importance and it has an interesting past. In around 628 the manor and soke was owned by King Edwin of Mercia, under whose patronage St Paulinus preached, bringing Christianity to the area. Much later on 1023, it was owned by Lady Godiva and her descendent Edwin of Mercia, held it in 1066. After the conquest, the manor of Kirton (called Chirchetone in the Doomsday Book) passed to the monarch and then the Duchy of Cornwall. The manor was often gifted to nobles who served the crown, but always passed back to the monarch or the Prince of Wales on the death of the Lord or Lady in question. In this way some famous historical figures have held the Lordship here, amongst them Theodoric of Alsatia (a descendant of Charlemagne), the infamous Queen Isabella and the chivalrous Black Prince. The Burgh family of Gainsborough Old Hall owned the property and in 1529 Katherine Parr came to live here with her first husband Sir Edward Burgh. In 1799 George IV, when still Prince Regent, sold the Lordship of the Manor to discharge his gambling debts. It later passed back to the Duchy until 1871.

Kirton in Lindsey had attained the status of a market town, but in 1324 Queen Isabella granted the right to hold two fairs each year.

By 1792 a gaol (known as the House of Correction or Bridewell) was built, along with the courthouse where the Quarter Sessions were held. The Vicar at St Andrew's was also the Chaplain to the prison.



We hope that you will enjoy a visit to St Andrew's and discover some of its treasures.


Today St Andrew's is part of an inspiring local ecumenical partnership and is known locally as St Andrew's United Church. This means that, whilst it remains a traditional Anglican Parish Church, serving the Parish of Kirton in Lindsey with Manton, worship and mission are shared with Kirton in Lindsey's Methodist and Baptist Churches, and people of all Christian Traditions worship and work together in the one place. This means that there is variety in our services and diversity in all that we do.

 If you would like to join us for worship, you may click here for the service times, and       click here for other activities that take place in the church itself of the halls across the road (formerly the Baptist Church). We aim to be an inclusive and welcoming Christian presence in the town. We would love to see you here.


May the mystery of God beckon us;

May the wisdom of God direct us;

May the forgiveness of God heal us;

May the energy of God send us into the world

to exercise justice and love,

and be a blessing to others.




The forgoing is based on the leaflet originally produced by Anne Wild Designs Ltd. 2004, as amended in 2017.


"The Church in Kirton-in-Lindsey: A History", by L A E Dejardin

"The History of Kirto-in-Lindsey" by Oxoniensis

"Churches in Focus" An article in the Catholic News December 2003

"Church pdf St Andrew, Kiron-in-Lindsey" P B G B

"Power" by R W Pacey 1969

If you would like to know anything more about the Church, services or activities please email saint.andrew.uc@gmail.com 

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