Friday, January 29, 2010

Irby in the Marsh church

click photo to enlarge
The county of Lincolnshire has more than 200 place-names that end with "by" (pronounced "bi" as in bit). It is thought that these derive from the homesteads of small groups of Frisians, Irish vikings and Norwegians who accompanied the Danes when they settled the area. Irby in the Marsh (one of two Irbys in the county) has a particularly descriptive place-name. The "Ir" probably refers to Norwegian vikings from Ireland, the "by" means farm/s or village, and the remainder of the name describes the location.

The Scandinavians arrived in Eastern England in the 9th century, and the settlements around Irby will date from that time. The place-name itself is first recorded c.1115AD as Irebi. When you visit this part of Lincolnshire you are struck by the position of the church on a low rise in the flat landscape. Did the medieval builders displace farmers who would also have been drawn to this drier eminence? The church of All Saints is a picturesque mixture of greenstone, limestone rubble, limestone ashlar and red brick. The principal medieval remains, from the 13th century to the 15th century, are the foundations and lower parts of the wall, remains of aisle arches, a piscina, and the plain octagonal font. Much of the church was renewed in 1770, including the tower with its obelisk pinnacles and arched doorway with datestone, and the nave. This latter has curious alternating bands of greenstone and bricks pierced by characteristic round-arched windows. The building was further renewed and restored in 1886 by the architect, Ewan Christian, who built the chancel.

I took a number of pictures of the exterior of the church, but chose this one to post because it shows its position on the low hill, and for the fine clouds that acquired added drama by my use of a wide angle lens (22mm @ 35mm equivalence).

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 11mm (22mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On