St Peter’s Church

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With its very tall and elegant spire, this is often referred to as the “Queen of the Marsh”. It is thought it served as a beacon to sailors.

South Somercotes is a small settlement just off A1031, Grimsby to Mablethorpe road, which isn’t marked on the road atlas. It is rather an uninspiring linear settlement with a small post office but little else. The Church is no longer used and cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust and is always open.

It is a peaceful setting surrounded by a large graveyard with trees and snowdrops. It is built of the local limestone, green sandstone and ironstone with buttressed walls, tiled roof and a small cross at the end of the chancel. The large sturdy west tower is topped by a tall slender spire from 15thC with a weather cock.

Entry is through the south door. Just inside the door is a large old wooden chest still with two of its three padlocks.

Inside it is a huge building with a very wide nave with round pillars with pointed arches separating it from the side aisles. THere are small carved heads at the base of the arches. Above is a beautiful wood roof. The floor is covered with red clay quarry tiles.

The inside is light and airy as the stained glass in the perpendicular windows was lost during bombing in the Second World War and replaced with plain glass. It felt cold and damp inside and there was green algae beginning to grow on the stonework. In the side aisles are two Victorian small cast iron stoves. We wondered how effective they were at keeping the church warm in winter.

The tower has a doorway at the west end and a wooden ladder to the bell loft which still has its three pre-reformation bells.

Along the sides of the aisles are old pews. The nave now has old wooden chairs. At the end of the south aisle is an old stone grave slab in the floor. The north aisle has a marble memorial to Thomas Bennet Freshney 1843-1906 who had been to America where he had been acting as a judge at the Great International Show of Chicago where “in the fulness of his powers and at the height of his honest fame he was suddenly called to rest”.

The font is 15thC an has an octagonal bowl with symbols of the passion carved round it with small heads below. Above is a 15thC cover with the traces of green and red paint.

The Victorian pulpit is beautifully carved and a memorial plate above explains that it was a tribute to Frederick Allen Freshney, Trooper Imperial Light Horse, who was severely wounded at the Battle of Colenso in 1899 and died at Saltfleet in 1906.

There is a beautifully carved rood screen, still with the remains of red and green paint, with a simple cross above.

The chancel has a red and black brick floor with 3 stone gave slabs along the centre. Above is a beautiful wood barrel roof with carved wood bosses above the altar. On either side is a carved angel. One has a harp, the other two pipes.

There is a wooden altar rail with a simple wood table altar with “This do in Remembrance of Me” carved under the top. This is also carved along the base of the east window. On the south wall is a small marble memorial to the Rector of the Parish from 1886-1919.

A nice touch were the flower arrangements in the nave.

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