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Our Building

St. Guthlac’s Church is a Grade I listed building, which has been a place of worship for over 800 years.  It is dedicated to Saint Guthlac, who as a young man fought in the army of Mercia, before turning to God and becoming a monk.  He became a hermit on the island of Crowland in 699 AD.

The Church Building

As you walk into the church, you enter through a late 13th century porch and a 12th century entrance arch, which has waterleaf capitals from the earlier building. The door is 19th century but holds 13th century iron tracery of slender leaf patterns, considered to be unlike any other medieval design.

The main part of the church, called the nave, is surrounded by 3 arches with quatrefoil pillars; the arches to the North Aisle are Norman (late 12th century) and those to the South Aisle are Early English (early 13th century). The Clerestory was added in 15th century, its roof beams being supported on grotesque corbels.

The Chancel Arch includes decorative shafts by James Fowler of Louth who was responsible for a major restoration of the church in 1877/8. The motifs on the shaft supports and the ends of the Choir stalls symbolise the change in character of the area when this Church was built, depicting that “where once there were bitterns amongst the rushes there are now partridges amongst the corn". The Chancel roof incorporates six angel supporters with folded wings, carrying shields, books and scrolls.

In the Chancel on each side of the East Window are 14 century carved canopied niches which contain plaster figures of St Hugh of Lincoln and St Guthlac. Below the window, the Altar Reredos is an intricate mosaic depicting two kneeling angels in the pre-Raphaelite tradition and a central cross.

On the south wall are the St Guthlac Windows. These contain twelve roundels depicting scenes from the life of the saint, copied from the seven hundred year old St Guthlac Roll, held at the British Library. More information can be found in our Booklet “Saint Guthlac: His Life and The Guthlac Roll”.

Below the windows, are a piscina (14th century), two sedilia (early 16th century) and an arch which are scrolled and crocketed; a priest’s doorway and a former alms window.

The north wall has an aumbry, a reset tomb recess with mid 13th century carved stone coffin lid below and blocked arch, believed to be of the early Church, above.

To the north is our Organ, built by William Hill of London and installed in 1882. In 2019 it was completely dismantled, refurbished and improved by Clevedon Organs. A substantial grant towards the project cost was received from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A film about the restoration of the organ can be watched on the Churches YouTube channel or the Resources page of this website.

The North Aisle, widened in 1878, accommodates the Lady Chapel; in medieval times it accommodated a Guild Chapel for All Saints. To the right of the Altar is a reset archway to the organ chamber, having a 12 century shaft with waterleaf capital. To its right is the entrance to the rood loft, which formerly crossed the Chancel Arch.

The east end of the South Aisle, with its 14 century piscina and aumbry, accommodated the chapel for the Guild of Our Lady in medieval times. Nearby, on the south wall is the Memorial to those who fell in the two World Wars. The west end incorporates a Baptistry with a 14 century octagonal Font having shields and other carved designs around its basin and base.

The attractive stained glass windows were installed between 1878 and 1920. The most artistically significant is the Archangels’ Window in the North Aisle with its grisaille glass designed by Herbert Hendrie.  Information on all of the windows can be found in our booklet 'The Stained Glass Windows of St. Guthlac's Church and the people to whom they were dedicated'.

The Tower, built in the 1440s, incorporates on its outer walls: a portcullis, the coat of arms of Lady Margaret Beaufort (mother of Henry VII, who lived for much of her childhood and the early years of her second marriage in the area); a clock installed in 1763; and two early 18 century sundials inscribed “The Day is Thine” and “The Night Cometh” on the south and north sides respectively.

Internally, the shafts of the arch to the Nave have bell shaped bases and octagonal embattled capitals. Within the tower there is a peal of eight bells, six of which were cast by Joseph Eyre of St Neots in 1766. Two new bells were added in1998 with the help of the Millennium Commission, cast and hung by Taylors.

For more information about the Church building, please pick up a copy of the booklet “St Guthlac’s Church Market Deeping ~ A Short History & Guide”.

All our booklets can be found in the church, near the main door as you come in, for a small cost (ranging between £1.50-£2.50).