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Kirkstead, near Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.

The Church of St. Leonard's Without.

The Unitarian Chapel.


St Leonards without. (outside the gates of the Kirkstead Abbey.)

This little church started out as a chapel for pilgrims outside the gates of the Cistercian Abbey at Kirkstead, and dates back to 1230–40. It is an excellent example of Early English style. It is only 44 ft by 20 ft. In use for many years as a church, it was closed in 1877 (when the presbetarians congregation were evicted) and from 1883 The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings fought to save it from total decay. Eventually it was restored by the architect Weir, in 1913 - 1914.

Inside the chancel area against the left hand wall is a half effigy of a knight (without legs) dating from about 1250 and is one of its earliest type in England. He is shown in a round Cask Helm with air holes in front for breathing. He also has on a surcoat with broad shoulders and stiff armholes. His shield is held low and he has his hand on his sword. He is not thought to have had crossed legs. He is a fine example of his type and it is well worth the effort to get to see him across the fields.





Unitarian Chapel, Kirkstead


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