Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tattershall church, Lincolnshire

click photo to enlarge
Stand at the top of the keep of Tattershall Castle, look east-north-east, and you will see below you, a couple of hundred yards away, standing stately beyond the moat, the medieval Collegiate Church of Holy Trinity. This 186 feet long building, made of Ancaster stone, was begun twenty or so years after the keep of the castle and must have been completed before 1500. It is a fine example of the style of medieval English Gothic architecture known as Perpendicular, a form that, after the austere elegance of Early English and the exuberance of Decorated, even at the distance at which I've photographed it, comes across as rigid, repetitive and mechanical.

Today this church stands out among Lincolnshire churches of this area in being very light inside. Perpendicular churches often are because of their large, panelled windows, but here the absence of stained glass increases the brightness. It wasn't always so. Every window once shone with their jewel-like colours.However, in the mid-eighteenth century much of it was taken to the church of St Martin, in Stamford, to Burghley House (also near Stamford) and to Warwick castle. It can still be seen in each of those locations. At Tattershall there are re-assembled medieval fragments in the east window, including many full scenes. I may show some of these in a future post because some are extraordinarily interesting.

The other feature that the church is known for is bats. The flying mammals have a particular liking for the building and the congregation do their best to worship alongside the diminutive residents. There are over 500 soprano pipistrelle bats, about 120 Daubenton's bats, and sundry brown long-eared bats, Natterer's bats, common pipistrelles and Nathusius' pipistrelles. Such a large number of bats (that by law cannot be removed) produce quite a mess and one consequence is that the excellent commemorative brasses have to remain covered to prevent damage.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 26mm (39mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On