St Botolph’s Church

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This is a remote medieval church in the midst of the Lincolnshire fenland, forgotten by time. It is surrounded by farmland and there are a few scattered farms. Now just an empty shell it has been the centre of unexplained paranormal activity and was was used by Satanists in 1970s and 80s. Visitors have reported seeing a ghostly monk on the site, seeing odd lights and hearing sounds of storms in calm weather, and hearing strange, unexplained noises at night.…

The church is at the end of a lane with a wooden lych gate into the churchyard full of old grave stones, including some to unknown sailors lost at sea.

The large battlemented tower with its buttresses, dominates the church. The huge nave has a clerestory with lower side aisles and a low chancel with a blocked up doorway on the south wall. The walls have small buttresses with triangular tops.

Entry is through the porch on the south side with a carved cross in a circle above the door. There are the remains of dog toothed carving with small carved heads.

Inside it is a large church and feels even bigger as there are no internal contents. Octagonal pillars on square bases support pointed arches and separate the nave and side aisles. The pillars on the south side have decorative carvings of foliage round the tops. The floor is red clay quarry tiles and there is a wooden roof. The perpendicular windows have lost their glass and lead.

On the north wall are two small carved 19thC memorial stones to Thomas Freshney and his widow and to Henry Freshney.

A pointed arch leads into the chancel. which has red and black glazed tiles. there is an old stone grave slab on the floor of the chancel and another in the nave. At the end of the south aisle are the remains of old tombstones. One has a cross, another has the of half of a monk praying.

The walls of the nave and side aisles are rough stone work. The chancel walls are rendered. On the east wall are two carved bases which may once have had statues.

The church now belongs to the Churches Conversation Trust and is open all hours . A group of friends look after the graveyard which is a haven for wildlife in the intensively cultivated landscape.

You will need a copy of the 1:50,000 map to find the church as it is not marked on road atlases although is well signposted. The track to the church has a locked gate. It is possible to park on the verge opposite.

It was a cold and misty March day when we visited. Definitely atmospheric. It was bitterly cold in the church with a breeze off the sea. However there were no ghosts…but it is not a place I would want to go back to.

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