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Louth, Lincolnshire

Church of St. James.


Here is a compact little town with no main street which lies at the meeting of the Wolds and the plain or Marshlands in an area of great agriculture. At Domesday it had a market and 600 inhabitants and in 1139 the Cistercians abbey was founded nearby. It was wool which paid for the sumptuous church with a tall steeple. Although Louth declined it rose again with the opening of the Louth Navigation. In 1770.

The principal church in the town is the Parish Church of St James with a marvellous steeple, total height is 295feet. The tower was built about 1440 - 1445 and the leaded spire was built `501 - 1515 at a documented cost of £307 - 7s - 5d. and involving a selection of masons and designers before it was finished. There had been two previous churches on the site, a late 12th century one and a mid 13th century one.

In the 19th century restorations began with the ‘rebuilding’ of the belfry windows in 1805 by Thomas Espin. E. J. Willson re-roofed the Nave and Aisles and Re-built the North Porch in 1825 - 1827.The chancel was" re-done" in 1828 by Joseph Fowler and in 1843 the spire was damaged by a Lightening Strike and the next year it was restored by Lewis Cunningham who increased its height by another 7 foot. The next two restorations were in 1860 and 1868 - 1869 by James Fowler who re-laid the floors and rebuilt or possibly restored the North and South Porches. There was a restoration after1950 started by W. Godfrey Allen and continued by G. G. Pace of York who also restored the six plain stalls in the North Chapel.

There are two fonts in the church, one in the west end of the north aisle was found in a local garden is a perpendicular style with a panelled stem and a frieze on the octagonal Bowl. The other at the west end of the nave is by Bodley of alabaster with crocketed ogees round the stem and dates from 1867.

The lectern and pulpit are both Victorian as are the Choir stalls but in the vestry there is an object which is much earlier and given to the church before 1504 By Thomas Sudbury. This item is a chest known as the Sudbury Hutch. It has on it two carved panels with a male and female facing each other and are said to represent Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.

The stained glass is all Victorian. In the Chancel by Clayton & Bell 1861, The West window is by Hardman, Others by Heaton, Butler & Bayne. The west end of the South Aisle by Frederick Preedy

The monuments are as follows, There is a monument against the east wall to John Emeris who died in 1819 and has an inscription which is supported by scrolls in the Baroque or Rococo manner. This is by John Earle of Hull. There is an urn on the top and a relief of Faith on the base Working our way westwards the next monument is a sarcophagus in front of a obelisk and on the sarcophagus a dove with rays. This is to Thomas Orme who died in 1814. In the south chancel is a wall tablet with a portrait in relief to James Fowler the Architect who died in 1892. High up on the wall of the nave are two tablets with columns left and right and an open pediments of Circa 1725

At the west end of the nave there is a large Gothic memorial with a diapered background and an ogee cupola at the top in relief, this was to William Allison who died in 1845 and the memorial is by C. J. Carter. At the west end of the south aisle a memorial to Wolley Jolland who died in 1835 and it is designed by Chantrey and carved by T. Waudsby of Hull. In front if the above is the indent of a large double brass with figures under concave canopies.

This site is a work in progress.

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