Thursday, February 23, 2012

Louth steeple

click photo to enlarge
"That Louth parish church is one of the most majestic of English parish churches need hardly be said. It is what it is thanks to its steeple, which has good claims to be considered the most perfect of Perp (Perpendicular period) steeples." Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983) German-born British historian of art and architecture

The spired steeples of Lincolnshire's medieval churches individually and collectively surpass those of the churches of any other English county. From the austere beauty of the early broach spires of Sleaford and Frampton, to the fifteenth century magnificence of Grantham and Louth, with a host of others between, they are without parallel. Only a very few, such as Newark in Nottinghamshire, come close to matching the splendours on display in Lincolnshire.

When one considers this subject from the perspective of architectural history, and one looks at proportion, innovation in design and decoration, and the relationship between the rest of the church and the spired steeple then, despite Pevsner's praise of Louth, I think it's quite a close call between that church and Grantham. However, a spired steeple is more than a piece of architecture. It is also a major vertical accent in a town, and the way in which it contributes to views and vistas from near and far needs to be considered too. An example of a spired steeple that makes much less impact on its surroundings than might be imagined is that of Norwich Cathedral. When one considers Louth and Grantham, both in towns with hills, both without any real competition as far as tall buildings go, then it is Louth that clearly makes the greater impact.

Today's photographs were taken on the same, very changeable day. The darker shot is a view from Bridge Street, the sunlit one shows the church seen from Westgate, a fine street of distinguished, mainly Georgian, buildings. Both try to show something of the way this tower and spire are often framed by the surrounding buildings. This is something that happens very little at Grantham. Nor does Grantham's fine church advertise its presence from miles away over rolling hills as does that at Louth. Perhaps that's the next photograph of this building that I'll try to take.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 48mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On