St Andrew’s Church

Butterwick Church

Photo by Barnes Collection

St Andrew's Church


Revd Andrew Higginson 01205 760480

(Church Warden)   Graham Morris 01205 760058

Parish Magazine (published bi-monthly)

The re-opening of Butterwick Church as recorded in the Stamford Mercury on Friday 7th May 1880 (makes very interesting reading).  See attachment.


An entry in the Doomsday book tells of the existence of a Saxon Church which would be much older than the present one.  The Church of today has existed since the early 13th century although the exact date is uncertain.  There is also little knowledge of the early history of the Church, or why it was dedicated to St Andrew.  However, he was often called the fist Christian Missionary and this reminds us of the great task of the Church of Christ and of the path we endeavour to follow today.

The niche for the Sanctus bell, to the east end of the outside of the Church and the grotesque carved figures date from about 1300 when apparently a good deal of work was done.  The south windows of the Chancel, the Clerestory, parts of the Chancel Screen and the door to the Rood staircase also date from this time.  The Pulpit is medieval, and still in regular use.

The Font on the left as you enter the church is early English and was intended to remind us of the flood as symbolically it stands on eight pillars.  At one time the Font lost its cover, but this is now replaced and the Font has recently been restored ensuring the original stonework remains for many years to come.

The Arcades in the Nave are early English.  In the Sanctuary is a Piscina, a niche for a small basin and drain for the Priest to dispose of any used water. In 1550 stone altars were forbidden, however, under the present Ok Altar, situated in the Sanctuary floor there is part of an old stone altar slab.  This is very rare, and one of its five consecration crosses can be seen.

in the 1970's

Photo by Barnes collection

Butterwick Church

An Oak Altar was probably placed in position at the time of the restoration in 1879-80 when the Church was completely restored.  The roof and cornice were renewed and some panels of the Chancel Screen, which is of Lincolnshire type were replaced.  The high backed pews and the Gallery at the west end were removed, and outside the Churchyard was levelled.  Mr Staffurth was vicar at this time and one can well imagine the comments he had to take.  There was much disapproval.  No double it was a case of ‘fait accompli’.  Close scrutiny will reveal that several of the large stones on the large pillars bear Masons marks.  Did they realise how long their work would survive?

The brick Tower at the west end was built in 1714 housing 5 bells, which is the name of the local Hostelry.  The sixth bell was added in 1923 and yes we do have bats in our Belfry!

The only stained window was given in memory John Abbott who for 32 years Master of Pinchbeck Endowed School; who died 15th December 1902.  It is in the south wall of the Chancel, and the middle light depicts the Good Shepherd bearing a Lamb. This was put in by the ‘Old Boys’ of the School and in 1920 his family filled in the other two lights with the figures of St Peter and St Andrew.

The organ was dedicated in 1913.  The oak altar was given in 1924 and the Choir stalls in 1926.  The panelling behind the Altar was added later.  Other alterations were the formation of a Choir Vestry.  A processional cross and a new cross and candlesticks were presented at this time, and in 1977 the existing Altar rails were extended.

The Church was reopened on 29th April 1880 after the restoration.  There was Morning Prayer and Holy Communion; this was followed by a public luncheon.  The Preacher was the Bishop of Lincoln.  Successive Vicars and Church Councils have endeavoured to keep St Andrew’s in good repair so that She continues to be a shelter, a friend and a home to all who need Her and come to Her.

In recent years much work has been done to bring our Church in line with modern day needs.  Gas central heating replaced the old oil boiler in 1993.  In 1995 toilet and kitchen facilities were installed in what was once the Choir Vestry.  In 1996 the wooden staircase in the Bell Tower crumbled due to beetle infection and was replaced with a metal one, no easy task a the original staircase had been built first and then the tower around it!  The central metal support was lowered in parts from the top of the tower and welded with the stair treads into position.

1996 was also the Quinquennial year and we were faced with extensive repairs inside and outside the Church.  Some, like repairs to the parapet of the tower, which was in danger of falling, were very urgent indeed.
In February 1997 work commenced on the interior.  This took seven weeks and the dirt and dust was indescribable.  In spite of the scaffolding services were still held and were well attended.  The floor of the north aisle was declared dangerous, again due to beetle infection and was replaced.  This area is now a Prayer Corner and a place were small children can read or draw during services.  The last area of the church to be cleaned down was the Belfry where it was thought little needed to be done, imagine our horror then when the rafters, at the touch of a brush, poured to the ground, just so much dust!  Truly an accident waiting to happen for the bellringers, and adding yet more to the cost of the repairs.  The rafters affected were replaced by Canadian spruce which are resistant to infestation and regular inspection will be carried out on all timber in the church.

New curtains donated by church members were hung in the Belfry, replacing those donated to the church by Mr Eric Stickland 40 years previous.  The old curtains were passed on to the church at Friskney where after suitable renovations they now hang giving warmth and comfort on chilly nights to the Friskney All Saints’ bellringers who in their turn donated the clock hanging in the Belfry for the St Andrew’s bellringers.

Eric Strickland was a faithful member of St Andrew’s Church for many years and it is only by his generous bequest that repairs to the church, amounting to £10,000, were able to be carried out.

There are many old graves in the Churchyard.  One of interest is of Ann Sharp a Butterwick lady who died in 1924 aged 106 years.  She was a daughter-in-law to the clerk William Sharp.  Another is that of John Upsall who died in 1860 and his wife Maria who died in 1830.  Their epitaph reads “we died and those who have our graves in view, with every passing hour are dying to”.  The Church Noticeboard in the grounds of the Church was erected in memory of John Walter Ellis.


Christmas 1997 saw the church floodlit with its own permanent floodlighting system, this was first proposed by Mr Bill Stringer in 1994, he readily admitted he was not a churchgoer but he had a dream to see ‘his church’ floodlit.  He got the village behind him and eventually the Revd Leslie Hall (curate) coordinated the scheme with all that it entailed, applying for grants.  Bill with the aid of Maureen and Barry Butler (hosts of the Five Bells Public at that time) organised auctions and after three years of hope, frustration, impatience and tension it all came together.  Money was raised, grants were granted but tragically during those three years Bill died from a bee sting.  The village were stunned and lighting the church became a means of dispelling the grief caused by his inexplicable death.

At the ceremonial switching on of the lights on Monday, 26th January 1998, St Andrew’s Church went down in history as the first church to be floodlit in the whole of the United Kingdom with a grant from the New Church Floodlighting Trust, and they were dealing with 400 churches.

Surrounded by the media we were described as ‘leading the way into the next millennium’ in actual fact we were realising one man’s dream and as they shine out they bring an added beauty to the village and a reminder that Butterwick is made up of the Church and the Village and that we are all Christians who show their belief in different ways.  Fund raising will continue to make sure that ‘Bill’s Lights’ will continue to shine, a fitting memorial to a very special determined man aided and abetted by someone equally determined to see it through - the Revd Leslie Hall.


The Parochial War Memorial is a red granite obelisk, and stands in the grounds near the main east door.  It bears the following inscription and names:

Erected by the inhabitants of Butterwick to the Glory of God and in memory of the men from this village who gave their lives in the Great War (1914-1918).  It was unveiled by Major O B Giles on 9th October 1920 and dedicated by the Vicar.

  • PTE Frederick Ackrill  
    PTE Alfred Frederick Beebe 
    PTE Frederick Key Boothby
    PTE Charles Henry Burchnall 
    PTE John William Barnett 
    PTE John Rowland Edwards
    AB Arthur Gosling   
    Dr Albert Edward Grocock  
    PTE Alfred Henry Leggett
    PTE Frederick Walter Leggett 
    PTE Percy John Marshall  
    PTE Walter Martin
    CPL Richard Upsall Phillips 
    PTE Walter Pearson  
    PTE Walter Presgrave
    PTE Sidney Presgrave  
    PTE Walter Taylor   
    PTE Frederick Walkley
  • The present day Church Council is very conscious of the support so many people give to Butterwick Church.  They strive to continue in their successors footsteps by keeping St Andrew’s in a good state of repair for everyone, now and in the future.




Compiled by J W & Mrs J Barnes from local knowledge together with information taken from:
St Andrew’s Church Leaflet

(updated June 2017)