pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Welcome to an Interior of Theatrical Excitement...

I love old church buildings.    
This one is particularly special, although you wouldn't know that from the outside.

Located just a few miles from Lincoln, on a single track road which leads to nowhere,
it has a plain and simple exterior.
Step inside...

...and prepare for a surprise...

The very small interior is filled
with enormous marble
and alabaster

They are decorated
to the nth degree, sculpted,
painted, gilded,
every surface, inside and out.

It was difficult to capture the whole of this
marble six-poster bed.

This is the view through the monument, down to the entrance
and font.
The figures are Sir Thomas St Paul and his wife, Faith.
Thomas was a Member of Parliament for Grimsby
and twice Sherriff of Lincolnshire.
He died in 1582.

The canopy of the bed is richly decorated,
the small figures are their eight children,
only four of whom survived infancy.

The base of the tomb bears family crests
and an inscription..

Here lies Thomas St. Poll, knight, who died on the 
29th August A.D. 1582, 
in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth,
and rests in Christ.   
Reader,  you see what I am, 
you know what I have been.
Consider what you yourself must be.

There are two more monuments.
The larger one depicts Sir George St Paul, who died in 1613 and his wife, Frances.
He was the richest and most influential of the St Paul's.
This vast structure is about twelve feet high
made of alabaster and marble.

It is full of Jacobean symbolism - I have tweaked the intensity
of colour so that you can see just how elaborate
it really is.

Sadly, the lower part of the monument
bears the effigy of their
only child,
a daughter.
Mattathia St Paul, who died before
she was two.

She was buried in the church
'and since then her mother
has never been free from mourning
and weeping for a single day'.

Mattathia St Paul
Sir George was a staunch Puritan, who even worried about
whether it was right to kneel on a cushion
during his long prayer sessions.
It seems it was fine to spend a vast amount on a memorial, though.

He left a legacy to 30 'poor old men' from the area.
They received cash and a free gown annually.

His marriage was unexciting but happy.
He was survived by his wife, Frances.

She went on to lead an interesting life...

...she was a wealthy widow.
After much wooing she was persuaded to marry
the rather unsavoury Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, depicted
in this monument (which is considered, by some,  to be the finest of the three).

Robert Rich was very wealthy, but had little else to recommend him.
His first wife was a beauty who had been forced,
by her guardians, to marry him.
He ill-treated her
and in retaliation she sought consolation with another man
who fathered at least five of her twelve children!
Robert Rich divorced her in 1605
and began looking for a suitably wealthy replacement.

He decided he wanted Frances, so he set about winning her;
eventually she married him in 1616.

Lady Frances proved herself to be a very able business woman and rapidly
increased her personal fortune.
This enraged the Earl,
as he lost money in poorly advised ventures.

He died in Lincolnshire in 1619, and was buried in Essex.

Frances remained in the tiny
hamlet in Lincolnshire
'doing good works',
until she died in 1634.

Perhaps surprisingly, she chose to be buried with her second husband, the Earl, in Essex.
Presumably he had something good about him.

There is so much more to tell, but I have gone on too long already.
I'll save those stories for another time.

Given that these Elizabethan and Jacobean monuments
are of national importance
it is quite astounding to think that the church is open at all times,
other than when repairs or maintenance are being carried out.

I love Lincolnshire.


  1. Oh Elaine....What an interesting story and how beautiful! Your last statement says a lot about where you live. Here, too, many of the churches I write about are left open. It gives me comfort to know it is safe to leave them open.

    1. Hello Meggie, Isn't it wonderful that we can have free access. Sad to say that occasionally someone does do some damage, or removes items, but generally the old churches are treated with respect. I'm delighted to hear that it is the same in Texas!

  2. In all its beauty, there is both elegance and simplicity; a place just to enjoy. I love seeing the buildings you share with us and learning the history. I feel like I was with you on this day, XOXO

    1. Hello Susan, I wish you could have been with me; we could have explored this beautiful church and then driven into Lincoln to a tea-room, before exploring the old castle and the Cathedral!xx

  3. The colours grabbed me, and truth be told, they won't let go! I take it the colours used in restoration are as they would have been originally.Just gorgeous!
    Jane x

    1. Hello Jane, The colours are a little less vibrant, but not much. It has been restored to how it would have been, thanks to a grant and a very generous private benefactor. I think they must have had deep pockets!

  4. The history is as amazing as its beauty.

    1. Hello Doc, I am always amazed at how, with a little investigation, we can bring history to life. There were so many stories to choose in connection with this church!

  5. What beautiful monuments! I share your passion for seeking the unexpected in hidden away churches. I've really enjoyed your post. All the best, Jx

    1. Hello Jan, We are so lucky to be able to explore and enjoy these buildings. I love that mix of beautiful architecture and human stories - and the way the atmosphere of individual churches can be so varied.x

  6. Fascinating. And beautiful. So glad you share these churches with your blogger fans.

    1. Hello Pauline, I'm glad you enjoyed exploring it too! I had read about the monuments and longed to see them. They did not disappoint!

  7. I like Lady Frances. It's old history, but any leads on what became of the first Mrs. Robert Rich? The monuments are wonderful; I hope they are preserved "in perpetuity", as they say.

    1. Hello Joanne, Two fascinating women! I believe that the first Mrs Robert Rich finally got "married" to her lover but died in 1609, or thereabouts. The church is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust, the latest restoration of the monuments was funded by a grant and also by a private benefactor. I have my fingers crossed that they will continue to be preserved.

  8. The stories are fascinating and I've never seen anything like this. Incredible.

    1. Hello Mitch, They are an amazing survival - and very unusual for a rural Lincolnshire church! The stories really bring the place to life.

  9. " Robert Rich was very wealthy, but had little else to recommend him."

    Well, no one will say I was "very wealthy" after I'm gone . . .

  10. That's remarkable that treasures such as those are unprotected. I second your "I love Lincolnshire" because it must be an especially civilized place. Long may it live!

    1. Hello Ms Sparrow, Lincolnshire has so many old church buildings and they really do give very strong links to the past. I wish I had discovered the delights of exploring them years ago! I am biased about Lincolnshire, for I am a "Lincolnshire Yellowbelly".

  11. Such a beautiful 'wayside chapel' ! We happened upon one that was much older when we were travelling in Wales, in the vicinity of Abergavenny and the Wye Valley. I couldn't believe that we could just walk in and explore with no one keeping an eye ... such atmosphere and beauty ... you have shared a gem!

    1. Hello Susan, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. So many of the churches have very strong historical associations or house fascinating curiosities. I have such a long list of churches to explore! The chapel in Wales sounds wonderful, the older the better!

  12. Thank you for such an interesting post.

    1. Hello Susan, Thank you! I had a wonderful time touring the church, I'm delighted to have been able to share it with everyone.

  13. Interesting stories and loved seeing the intricate monuments . . . enjoyed this post.

  14. Hello Elaine.
    What a most informative interesting post. I have learnt something about English history today.
    The marble work and the bed are so intricate and lovely...
    Thank you for sharing this story ...look forward to reading more.
    you took great photos.
    happy weekend
    val x


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