Kelstern, Lincolnshire

Church of St. Faiths

Kelstern. Near Louth.

Kelstern today consists of a few cottages by the roadside and a Hall. The field lies just behind these in the midst of a series of earthworks. There is little else to see except the interior of the church.

St Faith’s tower is perpendicular plus many sections of 19th century Brick with rendering to cover, there is a possibility that the tower was actually rebuilt in the 19th Century. The chancel was rebuilt in 1866-67 and the nave now has a flat boarded ceiling from 1910.

The font has an octagonal Bowl and is set upon renewed base of clustered shafts and bench ends decorated with the shape of traceried arches. In the tracery lights in two north windows there are some fragments of 14th century stained glass and three other windows are by Sir Ninian Comper 1954-1958.

The Elizabeth South Monument

There is a standing alabaster monument to Elizabeth South who died in 1604. She is shown seated facing the viewer with her left foot raised slightly and placed on a skull. The Putto to right is standing with a skull on top of which the putto holds an inverted torch with the words "In alto requies." The inverted torch means that life is extinguished.

Right: detail showing the child in its crib. The seated position and the foot on the skull has obviously been copied from the Russell monument in Westminster Abbey.

The Putto on the left is also standing and has in his hand a spade resting on the base with his left foot resting on it. The words "Nil sine labore" indicating that the life’s toil is finished. There is a flat arch over all and in the right spandrel is a clock face also indicating that life’s time is up! In front of her to the right at base level is a babe in a crib with the covers coming up just under her chin. This to me indicates that she may have died in childbirth. The interesting thing about this figure of female pose seated with foot on skull that the pose is very similar to a monuments created in Westminster Abbey very shortly before her death. The seated monument in the abbey is one to Elizabeth Russell who died in 1601, but the carver is unknown.

I believe that this church is normally kept locked but the key is available in one of the cottages on the roadside near the lane to the church.




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