TF3287 : Interior, St James' church, Louth

taken 6 years ago, near to Louth, Lincolnshire, Great Britain

Interior, St James' church, Louth
Interior, St James' church, Louth
View east from the tower arch.
St James Church, Louth

The first written reference to a church in Louth is found in a Lincolnshire Cathedral Charter of about 1200, which mentions a certain ‘Jordan, Priest of Louth’.
There may well have been a church here in 792 when Abbot Aethelheard, of the monastery of ‘Hludensis’(Louth) was elected Archbishop of Canterbury.
The building, originally dated from the twelfth century, was rebuilt in about 1247 and again in 1447 using the original arcade (the five easternmost arches) moved outwards about 1.2m and raised 50cm on new bases. The establishment of the gilds in the new church and the ringing of a peal of bells in 1474, recorded in the churchwardens’ accounts, would suggest the completion of the reconstruction.
We know from the churchwardens’ accounts that the roof of the steeple was strengthened in 1499 in preparation for building the spire. For fifteen years all efforts went into the construction of the famous spire, the tallest of any parish church in England, a dominant feature of the countryside and, in the balance between tower and spire, surpassing all others. Three masons controlled the building, John Cole (1501-05), Christopher Scune (1505-13) and John Tempas (1514-15).
The weathercock which surmounted the new spire was made from the great copper basin taken from the Scots at Flodden Field. There was great rejoicing on 13 September 1515 when the Te Deum, bell-ringing and free bread and ale, the spire was consecrated. The total cost was £305.8s.5d.
The Lincolnshire Rising, precursor of the Pilgrimage of Grace, started at Louth after evensong on 1 October 1536, a reaction to rumours of monasteries being closed and church wealth confiscated. It ended on 25 March 1537 when Thomas Kendall, Vicar of Louth, was executed at Tyburn.
The Reformation under Edward VI and Elizabeth I and the Counter-Reformation under Mary caused great changes in the church; 1561 saw the removal of the rood screen and the loft (the doorway to the stairs is still visible on the south side of the chancel arch) the images having been removed in 1547 and new ones erected in 1554; the chantries were swept away under Edward (The John Louth Chantry becoming the Thorpe Hall Pew) and strict regulations on ritual were introduced.
During the seventeenth century repairs to the spire and the tower had to be made, especially after the 1632 ‘great tempest’. The services were greatly improved by the reseating of the church in 1720 (subscribers to the appeal and their descendants were excused pew rent), the hanging of a new peal of eight bells cast by Daniel Hedderly in 1726 and the new organ presented in 1769 by David Atkinson of Fanthorpe Hall with the provision of a gallery in the tower and £600 to provide an organist’s salary. The construction of galleries over the north and south aisles in 1787 and 1817 and the new altar-piece painted by William Williams, greatly altered the interior. A new clock by James Harrison of Barton was provided in 1815 and a new weathercock in 1824. In 1825 new roofs and ceilings for the nave and aisles were made from the plans of Edward James Wilson of Lincoln, and William Coulam of Louth, the builder. In 1826 gas light was installed.
When the spire was struck by lightning in 1844, the repairs increased the height to 295ft and gave William Brown an opportunity to make sketches for his famous panorama of Louth, exhibited in 1848, which hangs in the council chamber in the Town Hall.
The period of restoration began with the new organ in 1857, and the refurbishment of the chancel and stained glass window in 1861; and was followed by James Fowler’s complete restoration in 1868-9, giving us basically the church we see today.

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TF3287, 354 images   (more nearby search)
Contributed by
Julian P Guffogg   (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Saturday, 8 August, 2015   (more nearby)
Sunday, 9 August, 2015
Geographical Context
Religious sites 
Place (from Tags)
Church (from Tags)
St James 
Primary Subject of Photo
Church Interior 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TF 3261 8737 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:21.9940N 0:0.5093W
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