Thursday, June 09, 2016

Southrey's charming little church

click photo to enlarge
The church of St John the Divine at Southrey is unusual among Lincolnshire village churches in a number of interesting ways. Firstly it was built in 1898, a late date not only for one of the county's Victorian churches but also because most villages have a medieval building. Then there is the fact that at this late date no architect was involved in its construction. It was built by Richard Turner, the village carpenter, with the help of villagers, the Rev C. Laing and his curate, Mr Knox. This must account for the fact that the church is made of wood, a further unusual characteristic. This material gives the building something of a colonial appearance. The foundations are probably the oldest feature of the church. It is said that the stone slabs that form the plinth were grave covers from the dissolved Bardney Abbey.

The overall design is quite simple - a rectangular nave and chancel in one, a west porch with a large window above, and a small bell turret surmounted by a large weathercock (with cartoon-like painting). What look like four  supporting buttress/poles on each side appear to be later additions holding up the building, perhaps due to movement of some sort. They are, in fact, part of the original design, perhaps a case of "belt and braces" applied by the builders to ensure the structure's integrity.

The exterior timber has been replace by uPVC with little detriment to the overall appearance of the building which is charming. The congregation and clergy clearly look after the building very well and on our recent visit, as on a previous one a few years ago, the church was beautifully presented both without and within. Until recently here was only one piece of original stained glass - a small roundel at the east end above the altar. However, in 2014 the four-light west window above the porch received a remembrance window. The "Southrey Soldiers Windows" by Derek Commander depicts the church in its setting and the military personnel who came from the village and died on active service, the earliest during WW1, the most recent in 2011.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: St John the Divine, Southrey, Lincolnshire
Camera: Sony RX10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12.9mm (35mm - 35mm equiv.) crop
F No: f5
Shutter Speed: 1/640 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On