Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Kesteven (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SK 98270 43573


SK 94 SE ANCASTER MAIN STREET 6/7 (west side)

20-9-66 Church of St Martin

G.V. I

Parish Church. C11, C12, C13, C14, C15, 1713, restored in C19. Coursed lime- stone rubble, ashlar, slate and lead roofs. West tower, nave, north and south aisles, chancel. C14 west tower of 3 stages with recessed spire lit by 2 tiers of double and one of single lucarnes on alternating faces. Tower has angle buttresses and a plinth with string courses separating the stages. Lit by 2 light window with trefoils over in west wall of ground floor and a single trefoil headed light with ogee hood mould in the west face of the middle stage. 4 paired ogee headed openings with quatrefoils above in the belfry stage. Later flat headed door in the south side. Parapet has gargoyles at angles and the buttress tops have foliated gables with projecting grotesque figures. Stair in south east angle, partly supported on decorated corbels with crouched figures in the angles between the buttresses and the tower walls, and lit by small rectangular barred openings. North wall of nave has C15 paired clerestorey lights beneath 4 centred moulded arches and is surmounted by an embattled and pinnacled roof with gargoyles and shield and lozenge frieze. North aisle has a C13 lancet window in the west wall, a now blocked Transitional doorway with dogtoothed jambs in the north, as well as a 3 light C15 window beneath a flat lintel with hood mould. In the east wall of the aisle is a probably repositioned C14 geometric window with 3 short trefoil headed lights beneath 2 circles, each containing paired mouchettes, the whole surmounted by a quatrefoil,and contained in a pointed arch with a hood mould. This window is placed in the blocking of a C13 archway which doubtless lead into a now vanished north chapel, as did the similar blocked archway in the north wall of the chancel and the blocked access to the rood loft in the angle between the chancel and the aisle. North wall of the chancel has a C12 corbel table reset in the C19, with simple rounded pendent corbels, one of which has a castellated design upon it, and most of which bear masons' marks where not abraded. There is a 2 light C19 window in the north wall. Although principally of ashlar, the north chancel wall and the east aisle wall both have short runs of coursed limestone rubble. Also, built into the later parts of the wall, are 9 fragments of a probably Saxon tympanum. The east wall of the chancel is of good ashlar and is basically C12, since it is in build with 2 nook shafted Norman lights which were superseded when the present C14 reticulated east window was inserted. C12 also are the chamfered plinth and the shallow pilasters near the angles of the chancel. In the east walls of the tower and the nave, earlier, steeper, roof pitches are visible. The south wall of the chancel has a Norman corbel table and plinth as well as a section of string course at the east end which is presumably contemporary. A C14 2 light trefoil headed window with quatrefoil cuts through the site of a Norman window of which only the western jamb to impost level and part of the sill remain. The impost has a reeded horizontal moulding on it and the stone beneath has the same mason's mark as the 3rd corbel from the west above, thus demonstrating its C12 date. However, this C12 window itself cuts an earlier blocked opening to the west, fragments of the jambs and sill of which survive. This window is in build with the coursed rubble walling at this point. The blocked window and the evidence of a cruciform plan provided by the coarse walling here and elsewhere together indicate the existence of a Saxon cruciform church, perhaps of minster status. Further evidence of the primacy of the rubble walling is provided by the presence of a C12 buttress with plinth in the angle between the south aisle and the chancel, built up against an existing wall which, unlike the Norman parts of the structure, has no plinth at existing ground level. Otherwise the chancel south wall has a C15 2 light window with ogee heads and quatrefoil beneath a central trefoil and surmounted by a heavy rounded hood mould. There is also a C14 door with a pointed chamfered head and semicircular hood mould. South nave wall has elaborate castellated and pinnacled clerestorey of 2 light windows arranged in pairs, and gargoyles. The south aisle has a C15 roof matching that of the nave, with castellations, pinnacles and gargoyles; both nave and aisle have cusped lozenge and shield friezes. One C15 triple light window with ogee heads and trefoils beneath a segmental moulded hood mould. Further west is a C14 2 light window with ogee heads and quatrefoil. South porch is C13 withes pointed moulded arch, label stops removed. Top reconstructed with present low roof pitch in 1713, date recorded in a gable plaque. Inside the porch are side benches and 2 C14 tomb covers bearing effigies of robed priests, one with a chalice, the other with hands clasped in prayer. Also a 1914-18 wall plaque in the Gothic taste. South door has a bizarre trefoil head with pointed chamfered hood mould. Inside, Norman north arcade of 4 bays, first a step, second a step and a roll, third a large roll with billet decoration, and the fourth with deep chevrons in 2 orders. South arcade of 3 bays, piers decorated with 4 angle shafts in the principal directions; the 2 piers stand on the circular base of an earlier C12 nave arcade. Piers have octagonal capitals and abaci with above double chamfered arches. C15 figured corbels to nave roof and C14 ones in south aisle; one of them has triple human masks. C14 roof fragments repositioned in C19 nave roof are flattish figures in a rustic style. There are 3 similar figures on the principal trusses of the south aisle roof. Tower arch is very tall, C14, with triple shafts connected by continous hollows with annular capitals and heavily moulded head. A door above the tower arch has a pointed head with a corbel beneath. Double chamfered chancel arch is early C13 with collared angle shafts and nailhead decorated octagonal capitals with C19 label stops to hood mould. C15 square headed aumbries in north and south walls of the chancel. All glass and fittings C19 apart from the altar rail of circa 1700, very chaste with elegant turned balusters, and the font which is a C12 lead lined tub with continuous tall intersecting pelleted blank arcading on its sides. Monuments include a wall plaque to Elizabeth Long, d.1743, in the north aisle with a trumpeting angel and scrolly pediment. C19 wall plaques to the Allix family of Sudbrook Hall in the chancel. Marble plaque depicting a female mourning figure next to a wreathed urn, John Roe, d. 1765, by T. King of Bath of the north chancel wall. Three further C18 wall plaques in the south aisle, one with a heavy broken pediment and flaming urn dated 1756.

Listing NGR: SK9827043573


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 05 Feb 2007
Reference: IOE01/14879/09
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr James Brown. Source Historic England Archive
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