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Name:Church of St Denys, Sleaford
HER Number:62232
Type of record:Building

Summary

The Church of St Denys dates from the late 12th century.

Grid Reference:TF 068 458
Map Sheet:TF04NE
Parish:SLEAFORD, NORTH KESTEVEN, LINCOLNSHIRE

Full description

The Church of St Denys dates from the late 12th, with the tower dating to c.1180, and the spire to c.1220. It is built of Ancaster stone and forms one of the earliest examples of stone broach. Large parts of the church were rebuilt after it was struck by lightning in 1884. There is a 14th century Decorated nave and aisles extending westwards, and a large north transept has been added. A clerestory was added c.1430 when the chancel was remodelled. The outer north aisle was added in 1853 by Kirk and Parry, re-using old windows. There is a particularly good mid 14th century tracery and ornament, and a series of carved corbels and heads in the nave included a Turkish man and woman. A medieval rood screen exists, retaining the original platform and pulpitum. The balustrade and rood were restored by Sir Ninian Comper in 1918. The communion rail, said to be by Wren, is from Lincoln Cathedral. There is a Decorated font, much repaired. The north aisle has a piece of 17th century Sheldon tapestry. Fittings include a 17th century dole cupboard, and a desk with 15 chained books. There is a peal of eight bells, which were cast in 1796. Carre monuments. A 15th century window, removed from West front in 1884 restoration, has been reconstructed and stands at east end of churchyard. For the full description and the legal address of this listed building please refer to the appropriate List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. {1}{2}{3}{4}{5}{6}

Stained glass in this church dates to the 14th-15th centuries. {7}

Several areas of previously concealed stonework were exposed and recorded in January 2000, during archaeological monitoring of floor alterations within the church. The works were located near the south porch, and revealed portions of the north and south walls, and parts of the bases of the two tower piers, including a medieval grave cover that had been re-used as part of the south pier base. The grave cover had been decorated with a floriate cross, of a type that is dateable to the 13th and 14th centuries. {8}{9}

Further areas of previously concealed stonework were exposed and recorded in February 2002, during archaeological monitoring of a second phase of floor alterations. These works were located around the three easternmost piers, and revealed their foundation courses. Deposits likely relating to the late 19th century restoration of the church were also revealed, and a triangular piece of zinc, thought to be a fragment from a probable furniture moulding template, was also recovered. {10}{11}

The medieval foundations of the western part of the south aisle wall were recorded in November 2003, during archaeological monitoring of new drainage works in the churchyard. The foundations were set within a large foundation trench, and comprised dressed limestone exterior faces with a limestone rubble core. Several pieces of medieval tile, including one fragment of glazed ridge tile of probable Bourne type, were recovered in the surrounding graveyard deposits, suggesting that the church was roofed with this material in the medieval period. A fragment of slightly later painted window glass was also recovered, giving information about how the church was decorated in the 16th and 17th centuries. {12}{13}

Five burial vaults of post-medieval date were recorded in January 2014, during archaeological monitoring of groundworks for the construction of a new toilet inside the church. The vaults were all brick-lined, constructed of hand-made brick laid in stretcher bond, and were cut into a heavily disturbed graveyard soil layer from which fragments of disarticulated human bone were identified. Three of the vaults contained adult human skeletons, with the remaining two being infilled. Although their exact date could not be determined, the presence of coffin furniture in some of the vaults, and the fact that the deposition of remains within churches was forbidden after the 1850s, would suggest that the vaults are likely to date to the 18th or early 19th centuries. Overlying the vaults was a layer of made ground, likely dating to the 19th century, when the floor of the church was resurfaced. Finds recovered from this layer included post-medieval pottery, glass, clay pipe, metalwork and a stone tile, suggesting the deposit originated from a midden, rather than general waste from the church. {14}{15}


<1> Department of the Environment, 1974, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, 697/1/1 (402.115) (Index). SLI9678.

<2> Nikolaus Pevsner and John Harris, with Nicholas Antram, 1989, Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (Second Edition), pp.650-3 (Bibliographic Reference). SLI1062.

<3> Lincolnshire County Council, Sites and Monuments Record Card Index, TF 04 NE: BN (Index). SLI2881.

<4> Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Card Index, TF 04 NE: 13 (Index). SLI2344.

<5> William White, 1856, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire - Second Edition, p.435 (Bibliographic Reference). SLI886.

<6> Trollope, Edward, 1872, Sleaford and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Aswardhurn in the County of Lincoln, pp.140-67 (Bibliographic Reference). SLI920.

<7> Hebgin-Barnes, Penny, 1996, The Medieval Stained Glass of the County of Lincolnshire, pp.257-8 (Bibliographic Reference). SLI7602.

<8> Archaeological Project Services, 2000, Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford, APS site code: SDC 00 (Report). SLI15427.

<9> Archaeological Project Services, 2000, Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford, LCNCC 2000.48 (Archive). SLI15428.

<10> Archaeological Project Services, 2002, Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford, APS site code: SDC 02 (Report). SLI7576.

<11> Archaeological Project Services, 2002, Archaeological Watching Brief of floor alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford, LCNCC 2000.48 (Archive). SLI7577.

<12> Archaeological Project Services, 2004, Service Trenches at St Denys' Church, Sleaford, APS site code: SDC 03 (Report). SLI9252.

<13> Archaeological Project Services, 2004, Service Trenches at St Denys' Church, Sleaford, LCNCC 2000.48 (Archive). SLI9253.

<14> Archaeological Project Services, 2014, St Denys' Church, Sleaford, APS site code: SLSD 14 (Report). SLI14545.

<15> Archaeological Project Services, 2014, St Denys' Church, Sleaford, LCNCC 2014.10 (Archive). SLI14546.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1180 AD to 2050 AD)
  • BURIAL VAULT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • INHUMATION (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PAINTED GLASS (WINDOW) (Medieval to Post Medieval - 1500 AD to 1699 AD)
  • CLAY PIPE (SMOKING) (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1833 AD)
  • OYSTER SHELL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • SHERD (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • COFFIN FITTING (Post Medieval - 1750 AD? to 1850 AD?)
  • WINDOW GLASS (Post Medieval - 1750 AD? to 1875 AD?)
  • SHERD (Post Medieval - 1766 AD? to 1875 AD?)
  • TEMPLATE (Post Medieval - 1800 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Events

  • Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford
  • Service Trenches at St Denys' Church, Sleaford
  • Site Visit to the Church of St Denys, Sleaford
  • St Denys' Church, Sleaford
  • Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford

Protected Status

  • Conservation Area
  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

<1>Index: Department of the Environment. 1974. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Sleaford. 697/1/1 (402.115).
<2>Bibliographic Reference: Nikolaus Pevsner and John Harris, with Nicholas Antram. 1989. Buildings of England: Lincolnshire (Second Edition). pp.650-3.
<3>Index: Lincolnshire County Council. Sites and Monuments Record Card Index. TF 04 NE: BN.
<4>Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Card Index. TF 04 NE: 13.
<5>Bibliographic Reference: William White. 1856. History, Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire - Second Edition. p.435.
<6>Bibliographic Reference: Trollope, Edward. 1872. Sleaford and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Aswardhurn in the County of Lincoln. pp.140-67.
<7>Bibliographic Reference: Hebgin-Barnes, Penny. 1996. The Medieval Stained Glass of the County of Lincolnshire. pp.257-8.
<8>Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2000. Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. APS site code: SDC 00.
<9>Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2000. Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. LCNCC 2000.48.
<10>Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2002. Floor Alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. APS site code: SDC 02.
<11>Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2002. Archaeological Watching Brief of floor alterations at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. LCNCC 2000.48.
<12>Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2004. Service Trenches at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. APS site code: SDC 03.
<13>Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2004. Service Trenches at St Denys' Church, Sleaford. LCNCC 2000.48.
<14>Report: Archaeological Project Services. 2014. St Denys' Church, Sleaford. APS site code: SLSD 14.
<15>Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2014. St Denys' Church, Sleaford. LCNCC 2014.10.

Related records

65850Parent of: Churchyard, Church of St Denys, Sleaford (Monument)