Pevsner (1) wrote of his amazement, on entering, to see that it is a double -naved Church. A lofty and slender two and half-bay arcade divides the two naves east to west. The columns are octagonal; and the arches double chamfered. This arrangement is most unusual. Jenkins(2) describes the "effect as almost an optical illusion as if the architect had lost confidence in his ability to keep the roof up." A similar arrangement exists in the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Hannington, Northamptonshire, where there was originally a carved oak screen between the columns, thus separating the monks and nuns of the Gilbertine order who used it as their chapel. Other churches with a similar layout are =Stretford in Herefordshire, and Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire. Another splendid example of a double-naved church is Les Jacobins in Toulouse.
The North Aisle
Gilbert Scott in about 1860 built this aisle because the Church was not large enough to accommodate the congregation! Its architectural style is sadly out of keeping with the original building and destroys the symmetry of the original layout. A plaque in the porch records the following; A notice in the Porch records: "The Incorporated Society for Building for Churches grant £1,100 towards enlarging this Church upon condition that 282 seats numbered .--.to -- be reserved for use of the poorer inhabitants of this parish."
Except for the 'Arnhem' Window, the windows of the north wall are glazed in clear quarry glass. The East window was dedicated in 1902 in memory of George Henry Minnit who died at Frieston in 1900. The two lancets show Nathaniel on the left and Christ on the right with a quotation from St John's Gospel Ch1 v47, "An Israelite indeed, In whom there is no guile."
The Chancel Arch
Turning to the east, one sees the archway leading to the Crossing and Chancel. On each side are two large 18th century monuments to various members of the Hussey Family, long time patrons of the Benefice. High up on the right is a blocked doorway, which would have given access to the Rood Loft via a gallery or bridge across the south transept to the tower stairway in the Southeast arch. The Rood Loft would have stretched across the end of both Naves with a screen underneath it in the Chancel arch. Under the north and south ends of the Rood Loft there would have been side Altars. The great Rood or Crucifix with its attendant figures would have been on a beam above the Rood Loft underneath the great wall painting of the Doom. This painting depicts Christ sitting in majesty on the cornerstone of the arch, with figures of the redeemed passing down to the right towards the pulpit, above which could be seen the figure of St Michael weighing souls. Down to the left the souls of the damned were seen descending into hell.
In the early 1960s, a decision had to be made about the future of this painting. It had been badly damaged by weather following the collapse of the steeple when it was struck by lightning in 1859, and much of the masonry crashed through the roof. When experts inspected it in the 1960s, it was estimated that restoration would cost about £12,000 then, a sum beyond the resources of the Parish. The Church was being redecorated at this time, so, with professional advice, the painting was covered with lime wash, which could be removed if should restoration become feasible.
The Hussey memorials have probably obscured some of the original painting, but at the base of the left-hand memorial, some stonework shows traces of red paint.
The Crossing and Transepts
Massive pillars in the decorated style support the tower and dominate the Crossing. Good examples of Masons' Marks can be seen on the Southeast pillar just above the pew and another on the Southwest pillar above you as you climb up the steps into the pulpit. One of these marks is present on stones in Lincoln Cathedral and on every Church on the Cliff down to Grantham, including St Wulfram's. It has also been noted in Salisbury Cathedral.
On each side are shallow transepts; the South Transept is used as the Sacristy and the North Transept has recently (2001) been refurbished as a Chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and specifically set apart for use as a place for private prayer and meditation. There is a heater on the back wall. If you use it, please switch it off when you leave. Both transepts have their original cupboards, which might have been used for storing bread and wine for the Mass or perhaps the Dole Bread for the poor. In the north east corner of the Lady Chapel is a statue bracket.
The windows in the transepts are glazed in clear quarry glass.
The Chancel and its windows are 19th century, the only certain old feature being the Priests Door on the south side. The present reredos and altar were donated anonymously in 1893. The east window is also late, replacing the one that can be seen in the old picture of the Church following the lightning strike. The theme is the Te Deum from Morning Prayer. From left to right are Prophets, Apostles, in the centre, Christ in majesty, then martyrs and finally the Church represented by a kneeling abbess and two bishops. The face of the bishop holding a model of Lincoln Cathedral looks very much like that of the saintly Bishop Edward King. The candelabra and candle stands were made by Coldrons of Brant Broughton, who in their time were famous for the quality of their wrought iron work some of which can be seen in Southwell Minster.
A recent addition is an oak Aumbry for the Reserved Sac rament in the Northeast corner of the Sanctuary. It was made and carved by a local craftsman.
On the south wall of the Chancel are brackets that once held the helmet, crest, gauntlets and spurs reputed to be part of the 'Funerary Armour' of the last Lord Hussey. He had been Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire but was executed in Lincoln in 1538 for not doing more to quell the rising know as the Pilgrimage of Grace. Sir Edward Hussey Packe KBE of Prestwold, gave them to the Church in 1947. In January 1997 they, along with other valuables, were stolen in a major burglary and have never been recovered.
The window on the north wall depicts the moment that Mary Magdalene recognises the newly Risen Christ with the word "Rabboni" meaning "Teacher". The inscription at the bottom of the window reads:"For thy glorious resurrection we praise and bless thee O Lord."
The window on the south Wall depicts in the left lancet, Christ holding a shepherd's crook and carrying a lamb. Beneath, the inscription reads: "I am the Good Shepherd." The right lancet reveals Christ holding a lantern with the inscription beneath: "I am the Light of the World." This window is in memory of The Rev. Edward Lewis who was Rector for 5 years until his death aged 38 in 1898. As the plaque testifies, he was 'a man greatly beloved.' The author of this guide recalls being told the truth of that statement by parishioners who had known him. They also spoke of the occasion they were confirmed by Bishop King in tones of great awe and joy with a sense that a saint had touched them.
Note the delightful and unusual memorial to Mr Edmund Weaver on this wall.
Returning to the Nave, you will notice a modern altar to the north of the Chancel Arch. Until 1964, the pews came right up to the wall. If the priest was celebrating the Eucharist, this could only be done at the High Altar and therefore out of sight of most of the congregation. With the increasing emphasis on the Eucharist (rather than Matins) as the central act of worship, it became necessary to bring the celebrant and altar closer to the people. In 1964, sufficient pews were removed to achieve this. In 2000, further pews round the eastern central pillar were removed to provide more space. Similarly, pews have been removed from the West End of the Church to make space for activities, meetings and coffee after morning worship.
The Font is hexagonal and without adornment. It is about 600 years old.
An inscription on the Font Cover reads:
Presented to the Children
Of the Sunday School
The Arnhem Aisle
A plaque on the wall of the North aisle explains: "On September 15th 1974 the North Aisle was named The Arnhem Aisle and dedicated by the Bishop of Grantham to the memory of the men of the First Airborne Divisional Signals who were billeted in the Parish and neighbourhood before flying to Holland in their valiant attempt to establish a bridgehead over the River Rhine at Arnhem. September 17th 1944." This was the famous 'Operation Market Garden' so brilliantly described in 'A Bridge too Far' by Cornelius Ryan and later, and more controversially, made into a film. The friendship and fellowship between villager and soldier has lasted to this day. Every year since World War II, the first Sunday in September is Arnhem Sunday when old comrades and new foregather to remember their fallen comrades. Major General Anthony Deane- Drummond, in his book 'Return Ticket', writes warmly of the villagers' admiration and "possessive pride in their local airborne Unit. Arnhem Sunday is still celebrated throughout Lincolnshire…" At the time, he was a Major, second-in-command of the Airborne Signals and returns regularly every year to take the salute in the High Street.
The Parachute Signals Squadron and its Old Comrades' Association have fostered this enduring relationship, which is always supported by present members of 216 Signal Squadron (now a part of 16 Air Assault Brigade) when operational conditions allow. They had made and presented a specially woven carpet incorporating the Badges of the Parachute Regiment and Royal Signals, which was laid in the aisle. In 1994, No.216 Parachute Signal Squadron donated the stained glass window in memory of Airborne Signallers, including the two soldiers who fell in the Falkland Islands War of 1992. Also on this north wall of the church are the Memorials to those men from Caythorpe who were killed in the two World Wars and one to the 13 Signallers serving with 1st Airborne Signals in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, 1942-45.
A further recognition of this association is the large boulder of Falkland Island stone with a memorial plaque, brought here in 2000, which you can see tucked in the corner to the right of the War Memorial outside the Church gates.
To the west of the main South Door is the "Millennium Tapestry". Members of the Caythorpe and District Craft Club created this tapestry to celebrate the advent of the 3rd Millennium. Surrounding the central piece depicting a map of Caythorpe and Frieston are views of different buildings, each section being worked by an individual member. It was a happy decision to place the Tapestry in the Church, the oldest building in Caythorpe and since this Church is always open, allows maximum opportunity for parishioners and visitors to view it.
To the left is a plaque recording the installation of flood lighting to mark the start of the Year of Grace, MM. The floodlighting was dedicated and then switched on by the Rector, the Venerable Brian Lucas CB at a Watchnight Service marking the last year of the Second Millennium. The beauty of this fine building is even more apparent when viewed at night. It is a welcome sight to see the floodlit steeple when approaching the village from Lincoln or Grantham or descending from the Heath. It is possible also, through the Lodge gates to see Lincoln Cathedral floodlit in the distance.