Sunday, 15 January 2017

St Michael's stove pipe

The top picture is Claude Natte’s 1795 picture of St Michael’s, part of an extensive collection of drawings of Lincolnshire churches in particular commissioned by Sir Joseph Banks and completed in a few years.  I don’t think I’ve posted it before, although I have posted his picture of St Nicolas'.

The bottom picture has kindly just been sent to me by the local person who bought it on eBay, where I find at least two other local people who take an interest in such things have also seen it; it is a good thing that the four of us were not bidding against each other.

The photograph shows what a really good quality drawing it was.  For example, the squared gable end drawn in 1795 is exactly as photographed here, and a close look at the building today shows that what is now a pointed top stone is weathered and lichen covered in such a way as to show it is indeed more recent.

It can be dated to 1911 or 1912, give or take a few months, because the inscription on the east face of the white monument is clearly there and this commemorates someone who died in 1910, but by 1913 building work would have begun to remodel and substantially extend the church.

The stove pipe is a particularly striking feature and the stove is shown in the relevant position in a diagram of the layout of the church as it was when work began in 1913, but even slightly earlier pictures (including a painting in church said to date 1890) gives a different chimney on the north side of the chancel instead.

The eastern of the two south windows did not match the western of the two in 1795 but had been replaced by a replica which does by 1911-12 (and again it is clear when you look on the ground that the stonework of the eastern of the two is less worn and thus more modern).

The east window of the south aisle has been blocked up since 1795, something I’ve never seen before as this corner has a big bush in it in the painting and in other photos I have; this was clearly unblocked either in 1913-15 or later because there is a Gothic style window there now.

The east window of the chancel in 1795 had been replaced by a larger Gothic style window by the time of the 1890 painting and this later photograph (and it is clear inside the building that a mediaeval beam had to be cut to make room for  this window of greater height).  I can’t see whether the window has stained glass in it or not but I presume it does as this was unveiled in October 1910.

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