We were unable to provide opening hours. Please contact the Church for more information
The present church of St Peter-at-Gowts with St Andrew (dating at least, from the early 11th century), is located on the eastern side of Lincoln High Street (the Roman Fosse Way) in the suburb of Wigford. A little to the south of the church, the High Street crosses the Great Gowt, a water-drainage ditch that is orientated east-west, with the Sincil Dyke at its eastern end and the River Witham at its western end. Another ditch known as The Little Gowt branched-off, approximately one third of the way along the length of the Great Gowt (from its eastern end) and flows in a south-west (and then a westerly) direction before also meeting the River Witham. The High Street thus crossed the Little Gowt a little further south of the Great Gowt.
By the end of the 11th century, there were a total of eleven churches in the suburb of Wigford and just beyond the suburb's southern boundary, were two hospitals (known as the Holy Innocents and the Holy Sepulchre). Before the mid-19th century, the suburb's building development (from the High Bridge, down to the Great Bargate) was mainly confined to along the edges of the High Street itself. During the Roman and succeeding Medieval period, the suburb was mainly an area of high-status residencies, with many of Lincoln's leading citizens in the Medieval period especially, building notable large expensive houses with extensive plots extending back to either the Sincil Dyke (to the east) or to the River Witham (to the west).
With the arrival of the railway in 1848, the suburb gradually began to in-fill with back-to-back streets of terrace houses that provided working class accommodation for those associated with the city's rapidly-emerging engineering industries. Many of the older high-status residencies along the High Street itself were also being replaced (or else had already been replaced) by shops or inns during this period. The Population of the parish was not very large before the mid-18th century. A return of 1560 showed that there were 58 families residing in the parish and two hundred years later, a similar Ecclesiastical return showed that there were 60 families. After 1760 there was a period of considerable growth, reaching a peak of 9,000 in 1901. These were not all parishioners of St Peter's however, as the Ecclesiastical parish of St Andrew had been established in 1883, out of the old civil parish of St Peter. A church building, dedicated to St Andrew, was erected at the junction of Portland Street and Canwick Road to serve the new parish. The 1931 census showed the population of the Ecclesiastical parish of St Peter as being 4,726. By the early 1980s, the parish of St Andrew having ceased to exist and returned to St Peter's, the population figure was 5,700. The Victorian church of St Andrew was closed in 1968 and subsequently demolished, and because of this, and in remembrance of an earlier and much more ancient church dedicated to St Andrew, which was one of the eleven post Conquest churches in the suburb of Wigford, the St Peter-at-Gowts parish became known as the parish of St Peter-at-Gowts and St Andrew.
The Church Introduction
The earliest-surviving architectural features of the church date from the 11th-14th century. The north aisle and porch were added in 1852-1853 by W.A. Nicolson. The chancel was enlarged in 1887-1888, under the direction of Charles Hodgson Fowler. The main body of the church is constructed from both coursed stone rubble and dressed ashlar blocks, has a slate roof and chamfered plinth around its base. The church building consists of a West Tower, a Nave and a Chapel under a continuous roof, North and South aisles, plus porches, Organ Chamber, Vestries and a South chapel.
The church Tower at St Peter-at-Gowts is typical of the 11th century "Lincolnshire" group of towers associated with the Saxo-Norman period1. Its base measures 4.51m (14.8ft) by 5.63m (18.5ft), while its height is 21.94m (72ft),It is very similar in style of construction, to that of nearby St Mary-le-Wigford church; its sides are almost vertical but draw in a little, just under the string course2. The two churches are located in the suburb of Wigford, on the eastern side of the High Street, with St Peter-at-Gowts being located the furthest south. Together, they are classed as the oldest surviving parish church towers in the city of Lincoln3.
Each tower has a belfry chamber. In each face (in both belfry chambers) there is a pair of Saxon semi-circular arch head openings, incorporating a mid-wall (central) shaft4. At St Peter-at-Gowts, the mid-wall shafts on the west and south belfry faces have distinctive Saxo-Norman decoration on their capitals, while the bulbous appearance of those on the east and north faces, is due to the fact that they are un-sculptured versions of those in the other two faces5. The east jamb of the north belfry chamber opening, at St Peter-at-Gowts church, also incorporates a re-used fragment from a Roman stone coffin6. In both belfries, the imposts (in the outer side of each window opening) carry a bold chamfer, which is not continued on the external tower faces, except exclusively on each impost at the top of each mid-wall shaft (also in the case of both belfries, the jamb stones of the openings are laid in the distinctive Saxon "long and short" style). The architectural characteristics of the belfry openings are associated with the period 1066 - 1086 A.D., which is also referred to as either the Saxo-Norman or the Romanesque period (a period in which the Saxon building techniques had not yet been fully phased out, in favour of the incoming Norman methods)7.
In both cases, the church's Nave and Chancel seem to have been constructed first, with the tower added later. This is demonstrated by the fact that the tower masonry is not "bonded" with the west wall masonry of the Nave but is instead "butted" against it (and at St Peter-at-Gowts, the tower's foundation plinth can also be seen, to be a later addition8).
The towers were originally constructed from small, cut stones. Many, or all of these stones, appear to be reused Romano-British building material, and are thus referred to as saxa quadrata or petit apparail9. At the corners of both towers, the quoins (cornerstones) are laid at alternate angles. At St Peter-at-Gowts, the quoins in the north-western and south-western Nave corners are typical of Saxon "long and short work" while the quoins in the north-western and south-western Nave corners at St Mary-le-Wigford are laid at alternate angles10.
On the top of the St Peter-at-Gowts tower, the plain parapet above the belfry string course originally had a pinnacle in each angle, but the present plain parapet appears to be replacing one (or part of one) that possibly dated back to the late medieval period11. The string course below the belfry chamber is square in section, and still consists mainly, of original masonry. The tower's limestone quoins (cornerstones) are laid side-alternate and because they project slightly from the face of the wall, this had led to the conjecture that the wall was once rendered12.
Grimm's drawing of 1784 (looking from the south-west) depicts the Tower with its west doorway blocked by masonry, and the blocking material in turn can be seen to contain a small rectangular window. A small lozenge-faced clock can also be seen, mounted on the tympanum (below a timber weathering). Above the weathering, is depicted a broad lancet window with a two-centre arched head (set under a hoodmould). These details are also seen in Peter de Wint's painting (probably dating from the 1806-1828 period, when he was living in Lincoln)13.
The Grimm and De Wint depictions (along with Buck sketch of 1723) also confirm that before the west door's restoration, the door in the South Aisle wall was being used as the main entrance instead14. The Lincolnshire Architectural Society, in 1852, also expressed regret that the renovation plans of Mr Nicholson allowed an open doorway in the Tower but caused the South Aisle to be blocked15.
Under the supervision of W. A. Nicholson, the church underwent a major period of renovation (1852-1853), which involved the removal of the Nave's northern wall (which itself had incorporated an earlier blocked-up Norman two-bay arcade) and the Norman Chancel. It cannot be confirmed in detail, if any work was done to the Tower, during this period but the Tower's west door was already recorded as being restored, in 1845, during the visit of Archdeacon Bonney. In the Ross Collection (Lincolnshire County Library), a drawing from the 1840s, shows St Mary's Guildhall and the church Tower's restored west doorway.16
Similarly (and also possibly dating from the 1840s), a drawing from the Wilson Collection (Lincoln Cathedral Library) shows the church Tower with its restored west door. This drawing must have been made before 1852, as it can be seen from it, that the present North Aisle had not yet been added. Also, this drawing shows two pairs of (north-south orientated) timber baulks, projecting through the central section of the tower17. These same timber baulks are also depicted, in the earlier Buck sketch of 1723, and Grimm drawing of 1784. The 1852 (North Elevation) drawing of the church also shows those same timber baulks, plus a similar set of baulks in the (then existing) "Norman" Chancel's. Considering that the west door was reconstructed prior to 1845, the period 1825-1840 has been suggested .Jr when the restoration may have taken place. At both St Peter-at-Gowts and St Mary-le-Wigford church, the west door "appears" to display Norman characteristics. At St Mary-le-Wigford church, the western door's imposts have a very broad chamfer, with an incised chequer-board decoration, which is a SaxoNorman (11th century) decorative form, but at St Peter-at-Gowts however, the so-called "Norman" style door features (and tympanum) are plain (undecorated); created as part of the early 19th century phase of restoration. The present jambs (of the St Peter-at-Gowts west door) are the only "original" surviving door stones. These two imposts give support to a brown sandstone lintel. Above the lintel, the tympanum is decorated with incised regulations (similar to that at Branston church). The door's hoodmoulding is decorated with two rows of billet (and again, is a product of the early 19th century restoration)19.
It also seems probable, that during the 1840s, the broad lancet window above the doorway (as depicted by Grimm in 1784) was converted to a round-headed type, and the clock moved higher. This clock was in turn replaced in the 19th century by a different clock; the round one presently seen between the two Tower windows on the western face.
The church underwent a second period of major restoration in 1887-188, under the direction of Charles Hodgson Fowler but again, there is no obvious evidence that any work was done to the Tower, during that -period. The tower was cleaned, and its roof repaired, in 1987 (and the City of Lincoln Archaeological Unit undertook some limited recording work).
On the 1st floor of the Tower, a large "original" round-headed lancet window survives in the south wall. Its semi-circular head is cut into the underside of a monolithic lintel, and the cut of both the jambs and the lintel, again seems to suggest that they were once incorporated into a rendered wall20 .
On the second floor of the tower (western face), is another round-headed lancet type of window, similar in construction to that incorporated into the southern face of the tower (on the 1st floor). It too, has its semi-circular head carved in to the underside of a monolithic lintel (albeit slightly more than a semi-circle, thus resembling slightly, a "keyhole" shape) and has its stones cut in a way that allows it to be incorporated into a rendered wall. The jamb stones of this window are arranged in a "long-and-short" style21.
A large mitred doorway (set 26 feet above the Nave floor level), is incorporated into the east wall of the tower. Also inside, on the eastern side of the Tower, the interior Saxo-Norman Tower Arch is slightly taller the interior tower arch also incorporates restored (plain) imposts, plus a wooden screen and gallery; all dating from the 19th century.
In the 18th century, the famous antiquarian, William Stukely, noted that many Romano-British funerary monuments had been found on either side of Lincoln High Street23. At St Peter-at-Gowts church, located below the string course, immediately above the single-light window on the west face of the tower, is possibly a reused Romano-British carved stone. This is very much in contrast, to the re-used (Dedication) stone in the west face of the tower at St Mary-le-Wigford (which is all-text), as the stone at St Peter-at-Gowts seems to depict a seated winged deity figure, described variously, as St Peter, Christ in Majesty, or a pagan god such as Jupiter, Mithras or Arimanius24 (whose similar appearance, to Christ or St Peter, on this extremely worn stone, would presumably have been noticed by the builders of the tower).
Another possible example, of a Saxo-Norman tradition of incorporating carved Romano-British stones into the outside of a Lincoln church, may also have been the now lost St. Martin's church, which stood in the present St. Martins Lane. Maurice Johnson sketched a stone that was originally located above the south door of the church. He claimed the stone to be "Roman" in origin, and that it referred to the city's mint. More recent thought, now possibly suggests an alternative Norman date for this (lost) stone, and also the argument that it depicts the baptism of Christ25.
The church's original Anglo-Saxon Nave and Chancel were smaller than the present Nave and Chancel. The Nave walls extend several feet either side of the Tower (north and south) and it can be seen that the Nave walls are older than the Tower due to the fact that Tower and Nave walls are not in bond; the Tower and Nave walls are on different plinths; and the Nave has distinctive "long and short" quoining (cornerstones, presently visible in the Nave's northwest and southwest corners) in sharp contrast to the side-alternating quoining of the tower.
Inside, the present Nave incorporates a 19th century four-bay north arcade. The three 4-keeled shafts are each mounted on octagonal piers; they have palmette / crocket-decorated capitals (copied from those in the church's 13th century south arcade) and are spanned by double-chamfered arches with hoodmoulds. The Nave also has a coped gable roof. Its length is 17.4m (55.1ft), its width is 6.09m (20ft) and its height is approximately 12.19m (40ft).
Above the arch connecting the Nave to the South Chapel, is a memorial dedicated to Anne Gardiner, who died on the 17th February 1882, age 67 (She was the wife of Richard Gardiner and the daughter of Benjamin Bromhead).
The 12th century North Aisle and Chancel
By the 12th century, a North Aisle had been added; and the Chancel extended, which (judging by the pre-i852 plan)26 was slightly longer than the Nave. Both of these structural additions were thus in the Norman style.
In regards to the original (Norman) North Aisle, the Buck sketch of 1723 (viewing the church from the southeast)27, depicts the Nave roof descending over its northern side, thus "apparently" covering a North Aisle of some form, that is not in view. A north elevation drawing, from February 1852, also shows that the Chancel at that time (which had a blocked Norman door in its northern wall) was longer than the Nave but perhaps more crucially, shows the northern wall of the Nave, which at that time appears to have incorporated a two-bay Norman arcade; the lower two halves were filled-in with stonework and the upper (semi-circular) two halves were glazed28. Since the two-bay arcade would have originally given access to a North Aisle - the inference is therefore, that the Norman North Aisle was dismantled sometime between 1723 and 1852 (rather than during W.A. Nicholson's rebuilding period of 1852 — 1853, which has been previously suggested)29. A Society of Antiquaries plan of the church (from the period 1840-1850) does not show a North Aisle30. Also, the Grimm, De Wint and Wilson depictions (late 18th / early 19th century)31 do not show a North Aisle of any kind but, because these were each drawn looking from the southwest, any potential North Aisle (or empty ground where it once stood) is hidden from the artist's line-of-sight (perspective).
It perhaps might be radically conjectured (but not proven) that at the time of the Buck drawing (1723), the non-depicted North Aisle had already been dismantled, its stone being re-used to construct the South Chapel in the early 14th century.
In 1852, the Lincolnshire Architectural Society commented on the removal of the church's 12th century chancel arch: "We have to regret the, as it seemed to us, unnecessary removal of a chancel arch of Early Norman character; the more so, as the advice the committee gave on the subject was misunderstood, and it was supposed that they had given their sanction to an arrangement they had all along opposed"32.
The small window in the south-west end of the present (19th century) Chancel's southern wall, appears to be a remnant of the earlier 12th century structure (though the glass in it, is also 19th century), as are some remains of an external string course that went around a similar window (now gone) that may still be seen in the upper wall of the Lady Chapel33.
The 19th century North Aisle
The present (1853) buttressed North Aisle incorporates three window bays, has a chamfered plinth at its base, and has a caped gable roof. The Aisle length is 16.9m (55.7ft) and its width is 5.63m (18.5ft). The three 3-light window of the North Aisle, have hoodmoulds and are in the "Decorated" style. The gabled north door porch also has a hoodmould that matches the windows of the North Aisle. Inside, the North Aisle's stained glass (west and northwest) windows were installed by Kempe34 in 1896. At the eastern end of the North Aisle, there is a wooden arch, leading to the St Andrew Chapel.
Along the interior North Aisle wall, can be seen a series of memorials, dedicated mainly (not exclusively), to the memory of the Bromhead family. The first memorial is dedicated to Anne Gardiner (the wife of John Gardiner and the daughter of Anthony Peacock), who died 11th February 1858, age 86 years. Next, is a memorial placed by Lt.-Col. E. R. Bromhead, dedicated to his father, John Bromhead, who died 22nd May 1876, age 66 years. The next memorial is dedicated to Benjamin Bromhead (a Captain of the 28th Dragoons, and the son of Lt.-Col. Bromhead), who was born 21st January 1772 and died 11th January 1848 (age 76).
The next memorial is dedicated to Martha Bromhead, who died at Cheltenham, 20th April 1825, age 43. She was the wife of Colonel John Bromhead, of the 77th Regiment. The same memorial is also dedicated to the memory of their two sons; John Bromhead, who died in Rome, 6th September 1804, and Captain James Bromhead of the 34th Regiment who died at sea, 14th December 1801, age 23.
The next memorial is dedicated to James Bromhead (and his wife Elizabeth who died February 1804). The same memorial is also dedicated to Ann Bromhead, who died 11th September 1788, age 38 years. She was the wife of Lt.-Col. Benjamin Bromhead, of the South Lincolnshire Militia. The same memorial is also dedicated to Ann (daughter of Ann and Benjamin) who died 8th May 1780, age 14. The same memorial is also dedicated to Lt.-Col. Benjamin Bromhead, who died 25th May 1805, age 73 (and also to his second wife Grace Bromhead, who died 25th November 1837, age 83 years).
The next memorial is dedicated to Frances Bromhead, who died 26th January 1801, age 70 (She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Gronville, of Afford). The same memorial is also dedicated to her husband, Lt.-Col. Bordman Bromhead, of the North Lincolnshire Militia, who died 7th December 1804, age 76 years.
The next memorial is dedicated to John Gardiner, who died 17th November 1840, age 72 years. The next memorial is dedicated to William Ellis who died 28th September 1819, age 35 years; and to his wife Ann Ellis, who died 22nd April 1827, age 93. The same memorial is also dedicated to their son, Rev. William Ellis, who died 11th February 1830, age 61.
The 19th century Chancel
The Chancel was rebuilt / extended in 1887-1888 under the direction of Charles Hodgson Fowler. The foundation stone of the new plinth was laid by the Rev. Canon James Weston Townroe, on Jubilee Day, 21st June 1887 (and two brass plaques, and a ceremonial trowel, permanently commemorate this event; being on display, on the eastern wall of the Chancel's Choir). The present Chancel thus has a coped east gable roof, with (in its eastern wall) a sill band and linked hoodmoulds, three round-headed windows, with a single round-window above35. The combined total length of the present Chancel, Sanctuary and Choir Vestry 16.52m (54.2ft) and its width is 8.68m (28.5ft). Its northern side has a 2-bay arcade (to the Chapel and Organ Chamber) with Perpendicular style wooden screens. The east and southwest windows incorporate 19th century stained glass. The south side has (to the east) a restored ogee-headed piscine.
The three windows above the high altar (in the east wall of the Chancel) are Norman and were retained from the extensions in the 12th century, but they have suffered from the ravages of time and alterations, and have been heavily restored. A plaque in the south wall of the chancel commemorates that the Chancel in its present (19th century) form was consecrated by Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, on December 4th 1887 the year of Queen Victoria's Jubilee. The sermon was preached by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Benson, and also present on that occasion was the Bishop of Southwell.
The fine reredos behind the high altar was erected at the same time, but not coloured in its present form until the redecoration of the church in 1970. The figures in the reredos are from left to right: 1. St Paulinus, who is said to have built the first Christian church in Lincoln. It is claimed that the face of Paulinus in this statue is a representation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Benson (noted above). 2. St Peter, the patron saint of the church, who according to the Gospel record of "the Keys" portrayed in this reredos holding a key. 3. The Blessed Virgin Mary. 4. Jesus Christ, Our Saviour. 5. St John, the "beloved disciple". 6. St Andrew, the brother of St Peter and patron saint of the parish established out of St Peter's in the 19th century. 7. St Hugh, the famous saint and Bishop of Lincoln 1186-1200. It was during Bishop Hugh's episcopacy that the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral Church was built. He is depicted as usual with a swan and the face of this figure is supposedly that of Hugh's successor Bishop Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln 1885-1910. The smaller gilded figures along the bottom of the reredos represent the twelve Apostles36.
The Revd Canon James Weston Townroe, who was Vicar of St Peter-at-Gowts for fifty years, is still remembered in the parish. It was in his memory that the panelling in the church's sanctuary was installed. In the 20th century, a grand scheme, that would have incorporated a magnificent Rood Cross with attendant figures of St Mary and St John (and two angels), erected on an arch where the chancel begins, was eventually scaled down to the Rood Cross alone which is presently suspended from the roof. This and the War Memorial on the south wall of the Nave was the last work of the architect Mr Temple Moore37 and was erected in 1920, largely through the generosity of Miss Burgess. The Cross is shown as the Tree of Life and at the end of the arms of the Cross (and the ends of the upright) are the four symbolic emblems of the Four Evangelists, St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke and St John. On the central panel of the reredos and on the painted panels of the barrel-vaulted roof, are repeated the crossed key symbol of St Peter38.
The South Aisle
The South Aisle was added in the 13th century and its two window bays are good examples of small windows in the "Decorated" style. It is 9.99m (32.8ft) in length and has a width of 3.90m (12.8ft). An earlier Norman doorway was also incorporated (re-set) into the southern wall of the South Aisle. When the Tower door was opened and became the main entrance to the church in the early 19th century, the south door was sealed and its porch removed. There are three buttresses along the southern wall of the South Aisle / South Chapel. The South Aisle walls have also been extensively restored, over time. Inside, the northern edge of the South Aisle is delimited by a two-bay south arcade, which includes palmette / crocket decorated capitals, octagonal responds but no hoodmoulds39. The South Aisle is topped by a 19th coped gable (lean-to) roof.
On the southern wall of the South Aisle, is a memorial dedicated to Robert Johnson, who died on 16th March 1852, age 58 years (and it is also dedicated to his wife Ellen Johnson, who died on 24th December 1880, age 85 years).
The South Chapel (Lady Chapel)
The South Chapel, originally constructed in 1347, was founded at the east end of the South Aisle by Ralph Jolif (Radulphus Jolyf), a Lincoln merchant40. Its length is 7.83m (25.7ft), its width is 5.18m (17ft) and its height is approximately 12.19m (40ft). It has two three-light windows (with cusped intersecting tracery) in its southern wall and a single similar window in its eastern wall. To its west, there is a double-chamfered arch with demi-shafts. The north east corner has a tomb recess dedicated to Ralf Jolif (1347) with an inscribed hoodmould, with triple shafts; next to it, are the remains of a squint and two corbels. The South Chapel also has a 19th century arch-braced king post (coped gable) roof, with painted decoration.
Although the two effigies were removed from the tomb in 1780, the low arch in the north wall of the Chapel remained and was the head arch of the same tomb. A drawing of the Ralf Jolif effigy (prior to removal) survives as part of the Ross Collection (and can be viewed on a microfiche, in Lincolnshire County Library)41. The inscription across the Chapel arch's hoodmould is difficult to read but it says that "Ralph and his wife Amicia were buried here and are in the safe keeping of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God-born of a virgin mother". The full inscription reads, "Radulphus Jolif, sua conjux ac Amisia, his capella paratur, virgine mater theos qui sibi salvet eos. Pro quibus oretis opus hoc quiscunq videtis"42.
On the southern wall of the South Chapel, is a memorial dedicated to John Tallant, who died on the 5th August 1810, age 58 years; and also dedicated to his wife Sarah Tallant, who died on 23`d February 1844, age 85 years; and to their grandson Leo, who died age 5 years and 6 months (and also to Leo's infant sister Clara). Below that memorial, is another, dedicated to Mary Elizabeth Tallant, who died on 31st January 1871, age 75 years.
The 19th century North East Chapel, Organ Chamber and Vestries
The two-storey North East Chapel / Organ Chamber has a coped east gable roof with a 19th century chimney stack, plus a timber-framed west roof gable (within which, is incorporated a wooden window with mullions). The combined total length of the North East Chapel and Vestry is 11.30m (37.1ft), its width is 4.78m (15.7ft) and its height is approximately 9.75m (32ft). Its northern side incorporates a pointed arched door, flanked by a stone mullioned window and a "Decorated" 3-light window. The eastern end has a 2-light pointed arched window on each of its floors. Inside, the North Chapel / Organ Chamber has to its north, a 19th century (shafted) marble and ashlar aumbry; and it has a canted barrel-vaulted wooden roof with painted decoration.
Thanks to many generous gifts, it was in 1984, that the area beneath the Organ Gallery was re-ordered into a Chapel dedicated to St Andrew. The area was carpeted by the Parochial Church Council and the altar table (dated 1671) was given to St Peter's by the Revd. Canon P.C. Hawker, Vicar of the neighbouring parish of St Botolph. The chapel was dedicated by The Bishop of Grantham on May 6th 1984.
The 19th century Vestry has a parapet and a pointed arched north door. It also incorporates 2-light and alight pointed arched windows within its structure. The Choir Vestry is a single-story flat-roofed structure.
On the north wall of the St Andrew's Chapel, are the standards of the Old Contemptibles Association (Lincoln and Gainsborough branches), the Royal British Legion, the 60th Field Regiment (Royal Artillery) and the Dunkirk Veterans Association. Below them, is the plaque commemorating the Old Contemptibles Association (5th August — 22nd November 1914) and the 50th Anniversary plaque dedicated to the 1940 Dunkirk Veterans Association (Lincoln Branch). Below the plaques, are the two books of remembrance; the "Old Contemptibles Association" and "60th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery".
Also on the same wall, is framed information, concerning the church's organ.
The Font and other fittings
In regards to the font, there is still much debate, regarding its date and origin. It appears to be older than most of the present church and possibly is associated an earlier phase of the church. One theory is that it was formed from a Roman pillar and that the crude carving upon it is the early work of a Saxo-Norman (or Norman) sculptor. The font is decorated in a crude blind-arcade style; a similar (though far-better produced) Norman blind—arcade style, is also apparent in the nearby St Mary's Guildhall (in the upper northern wall of the West Range)43. Whatever the Font's unresolved origins are, it seems at least generally agreed, that its position is at present unsatisfactory; it is inconveniently hemmed in by pews, mounted on a modern slab and set against a Victorian polished step.
The church lighting scheme is to the design of Mr Geoffrey Pace and was installed when St Peter-at-Gowts was last redecorated in 197044. The church's other memorials include twelve late-18th century (and 19th century) tablets and a war memorial board (1918).
When the 1985 church guidebook was first published, the organ at that time was described as originally being designed and built for use, in a large private house, but it was later installed in St Peter-at-Gowts church, in 1900. It was a three-manual instrument by Messrs Nicholson of London. Some renovation work was done on the organ in the mid-20th century but not enough to prevent the instrument from sinking slowly into the final stages of decay. The framed organ information plaque (on the north wall of the St Andrew's Chapel) describes an organ that was "built by Nicholson and Co., Ltd of Worcester and the casework was made by Messrs Bridgeman of Lichfield in 1940. Both were removed from All Souls, Leicester in 1987 and installed in St Peter-at-Gowts in 1988".
The Church Hall
The Church Hall of St Peter-at-Gowts was opened in April 1984. It is situated close to the church (on the northern side of Sibthorp Street) and it forms the South Range of the St Mary's Guildhall complex. Its brick structure is faced with some of the stone fragments taken from the former 18th century houses which had extended south, from the Guildhall's West Range.
The 12th century St Mary's Guildhall is sometimes referred to as "John of Gaunt's stables" because John de Sutton, who was John of Gaunt's associate, owned the so-called "John of Gaunt's Palace" on the opposite side of the High Street45. As in the case of other ancient buildings, the Guildhall has undergone various changes of use and structural modifications. It is now a grade 1 Listed Building and is currently under the auspices of the Lincoln Civic Trust. It has many important architectural features, two of which are, the arch above the main doorway in the west range (reputedly one of the oldest of its kind in Western Europe) and the so-called "Norman House" at the eastern end of the present North Range.
The parish of St Peter-at-Gowts has a long lease of 500 years (for the use of the Church Hall) with an option to renew for a further of 500 years. In order to finance a large part of the project, the parish sold two freehold properties — St Peter's Hall in Vernon Street and St Andrew's hall in Sausthorpe Street. During 1983 and 1984, by various means, £35,000 was raised to refurbish the building for parish use46.
The War Memorials
In the 20th century, a grand scheme, that would have incorporated a magnificent Rood Cross with attendant figures of St Mary and St John (and two angels), erected on an arch where the 19th century Chancel begins, was eventually scaled down to the Rood Cross alone which is presently suspended from the roof. This and the War Memorial on the south wall of the nave was the last work of the architect Mr Temple Moore47 and was erected in 1920, largely through the generosity of Miss Burgess. The Cross is shown as the Tree of Life and at the end of the arms of the Cross (and the ends of the upright) are the four symbolic emblems of the Four Evangelists, St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke and St John. On the central panel of the reredos and on the painted panels of the barrel-vaulted roof, are repeated the crossed key symbol of St Peter.
"In sacred remembrance and appreciation of the boys and men of this church and parish who made the supreme sacrifice during the Great War, a handsomely-designed memorial tablet, containing 108 names has been erected in St. Peter at Gowts Church, Lincoln.
The War Memorial tablet, which measures 11ft 6ins in height and 4ft in width, has been placed on a blank wall space, midway down the south wall of the Nave. It has been designed by Messrs Temple, Moore & Moore, of Hampstead, London and makes an imposing and arresting addition to the stately interior of the church. The lettering, of old Roman type, is painted on mahogany panels, and the beautiful carved frame has been carved out of solid oak. Surmounting the Roll is a striking picture of St. Michael slaying the dragon. The whole has been richly gilded by Messrs Head and Sons of Colchester, and the woodwork and carving exquisitely executed by Messes Thompson of Peterborough. Exclusive of the architect's fee, the contract for the memorial was £150, which has been met by public subscription. The names of the fallen are alphabetically arranged on the Roll" (Capt. H.J. Torr's Tribute to the Chivalrous Gentlemen).
The wording on the tablet is: "In very grateful memory, of the men of this church and parish, who laid down their lives for their country in the Great War, A.D. 1914 — 1919".
Sidney Abbot, George Arden, William Askew, Edward Attwood, Walter Barr, Joseph Beck, George Besson, James Blackburne, Thomas Blythe, Frank Bradley, Arthur Broadley, Charles Brown, Fred Brown, Henry Brown, William Brown, William Burgwin, Harry Butt, Arthur Clayton, Arthur Clay, William Clayton, Charles Clark, George Clarke, William Cleaver, Frank Close, Basil Crick, John Cuthbert, Charles Dalton, John Dowman, Leonard Duckles, John Farrington, Archbald Ferrier, George Fisher, George Fletcher, Walter Fletcher, Charles Foster, John Foster, Walter Freeman, Reginald Gibson, Harry Garfit, Charles Gibbons, Hugh Gibson, William Gillings, Horace Glover, William Goodlad, Arthur Gregory, Fred Handley, William Harrison, William Haylock, Frank Hewitt, Fred Hickson, Jesse Hitchcock, Horace Hodgson, Frank Holmes, Frank Holloway, George Holloway, Edmund Home, Arthur Humphries, Ernest Humphries, Charles Jacklin, Oliver Kelly, William Kershaw, George Knowles, William Lawson, Clarence Linnell, Percy Linnell, Elijah Linton, Ernest Lister, Laurence MacBrair, George Major, James Mapleston, Jack Marfleet, Percy Martin, James Methers, William Millington, Charles Ottewell, Edward Rawding, Henry Rawlinson, Ladas Rawlinson, George Richardson, Charles Rogers, Frederick Rudd, Walter Sampson, Alfred Shaw, Harry Smalley, Jack Smith, Arthur Simpson, George South, Allan Spink, Alfred Tatham, Arthur Taylor, Edwin Teft, Walter Teft, Frederick Thacker, Fred Tomlinson, George Tomlinson, Jack Tyrrell, George Wallhead, Thomas Walsh, Charles Watson, William Wark, Edward Whiting, John Whiting, Frank Wilkinson, John Wilkinson, Wilfred Smalley, Harry Wood, Frank Wright, and Andrew Young
"Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends"
"An impressive ceremony, which struck more a note of triumph than sadness, took place on Thursday evening, when the tablet was unveiled by Capt. H.J. Torr. The church was crowded, and the service which was a shortened form of evensong, with special hymns was conducted by the Vicar, the Rev. Canon J.W. Townbee. The organist was Miss Pollard. After undraping the Union Jack, which covered the memorial, Capt. Torr, from the pulpit, gave a stirring address" (Lincolnshire Chronicle, Saturday May 29th 1920).
(A special thank you, is hereby given, to Mr Bruce Goodman, for allowing his War Memorial research notes to be used on this page).
The Churchyard, the High Street and St Mary's Guildhall
The present churchyard of St Peter-at-Gowts, with the High Street on its western boundary, is a rectangular area that extends approximately 55.54m (60.74yds) on an east south-east / west north-west alignment. The churchyard width is approximately 41.5m (45.38yds). Immediately to the north of the churchyard, are the grounds of the vicarage which have the same 55.54m (60.74yds) combined length, as the churchyard, and extend approximately 14.04m (15.36yds) to the north north-east.
The earliest known depiction of the churchyard was drawn by cartographer John Speed on 19th July 1607. From that original drawing, his Dutch friend, the engraver Jodocus Hondius, then engraved it upon the more-well-known county of Lincolnshire map plate (1610) but Hondius had to rotate it ninety degrees (thus putting north on the left-hand side), in order to fit it into the plate space available48.
Samuel Grimm's drawing of 1784 depicts the western churchyard boundary extending into the High Street, with a stone wall forming its western boundary and a hedgerow forming its northern boundary (and thus perhaps, as in the case of nearby St Mary-le-Wigford church, it was only the boundary edge that fronted onto the High Street, that was delimited in stone). His 1784 drawing also seems to show that there was a pathway or narrow track between the northern churchyard boundary and the range of 18th century houses extending south from St Mary's Guildhall. If Grimm's drawing is compared to the Ross painting (1840-1850 period), the latter's view from the northwest also depicts the same range of 18th century houses, the St Peter-at-Gowts church tower and the very western end of the northern church boundary (which was also a -tone wall, but the rest was a hedgerow). These two particular drawings also seem to depict the western .Boundary of the churchyard, in approximately the same position as it is today (early 21st century).
The painting by Peter de Wint (1806-1828 period), shows the church from the southwest, and the extent of the churchyard, to the west of the tower (if the accuracy of the painting is to be believed) appears much greater. A painting in Lincoln Cathedral's "Wilson Collection" also seems to depict (corroborate) the churchyard's encroachment further westward, as the western stone wall boundary (southern half) appears to have been dismantled but, its stone north-west boundary corner (as also shown in Grimm's 1784 drawing) can be seen to be still there49. A 19th century drawing (pre-1852) in the Ross Collection, seems to show that the western boundary stone wall had been substituted for a low brick wall, with wrought iron railings along that new wall's top50. In 1864, a small water conduit was also incorporated into the western boundary, and it commemorates the benefactor; William Foster, Mayor of Lincoln.
From Speed's 1607 sketch map (and all later road maps), it can be seen, that from the south west corner of St. Peter-at-Gowts churchyard (southwards), there is a distinct change in the High Street's alignment; changing from a south-south-west alignment north of the churchyard, to a more generally southern alignment. This re-alignment of the street may have initially been caused, by the encroachment (extension) of the western part of St Peter-at-Gowts churchyard into the High Street (Roman road), in order to create the extra space required for the foundations of the tower, when it was added to the already-existing church, sometime in the mid-11th century? If that was the case, then (judging by the 21st century churchyard measurements available), the pre-tower churchyard may have been a square area, with each side measuring approximately 41.5m (45.38yds); the addition of the tower would thus cause the churchyard to be extended a further 14.04m (15.36yds) to the west north-west. It has not been possible for archaeological excavation to take place within the churchyard to further-verify this idea.
The road, however, has been exposed by archaeological excavation, under the western range of the high-status medieval building complex known as St Mary's Guildhall, which is located north of the St. Peter-atGowts churchyard. The ornately decorated Guildhall, originally constructed in the mid-12th century, initially consisted of a north and west range. The Guildhall's western range foundations were shown by archaeological excavation (1982) to have encroached upon the eastern extent of the Roman High Street. This encroachment would have approximately aligned the Guildhall's front with the already-existing western tower face of St. Peter-at-Gowts. Also discovered under the eastern part of the Guildhall's north range (the Norman House) was a possible second Roman road, that was identified at the time (1982-1991) as possibly being the Roman Ermine Street, although other parts of this supposed road alignment (to the south east) have so far not been physically discovered51.
The associated idea at that time (1991), was that the High Street equated to the Roman Fosse Way (running along the western boundary of the churchyard and Guildhall) and the other road now under the eastern part of the Guildhall was Ermine Street with an alignment that would cause it to join the Fosse Way at the presently-existing (21st-century) junction of King Street and High Street. Alternatively, (and possibly more plausibly), is that it is Ermine Street (High Street) running along the western boundary of the churchyard, while the Fosse Way joins it further to the south and the supposed other Roman road under the eastern part of the Guildhall is a minor one.
The excavations at St Mary's Guildhall (SMG 82) also revealed evidence of 1st — 5th century Romano-British occupation on that site, including two timber-framed buildings dating to the 3rd — 5th century, which were located between the two Roman roads. Further evidence from the excavation seemed to indicate that from the late Roman period onwards, the initial encroachment onto the eastern part of the High Street, by the construction of wooden buildings, had also occurred. Dating from the 10th — 12th century, were (among other features) fifteen rubbish pits on the site and there was also evidence of several timber-framed structures from the same period (one of which was aligned on the eastern Roman road, even though the latter was becoming more encroached-upon by pit features)52.
Given the amount of occupational change occurring on the St Mary's Guildhall site, over several centuries, it could be argued (though not yet archaeologically proven) that a similar sequence of events may have been taking place, immediately to the south, on the site of St Peter-at-Gowts, thus helping to explain why the re-used font and re-set deity depiction (in the west face of the tower) may have been found on site?
Presently (early 21st century), between the Guildhall and the St Peter-at-Gowts churchyard, is the vicarage and Sibthorp Street. Prior to 1896 however, this area of land was instead occupied by a range of houses that extend along the eastern edge of the High Street (from the southern end of the Guildhall's western tinge). They were built by John Fawkes, sometime after 1723 and consequently appear in several of the 18th and 19th century drawings of St Peter-at-Gowts church. In 1896, they were demolished to make way for what was to become, Sibthorp Street and the land plot for the vicarage. A new single-story South Range was also added to the St Mary's Guildhall complex (and the Guildhall itself, by 1896, had been partly-converted into a Maltings) and some of the stone fragments of the former 18th century houses were re-used to face the walls of the new South Range and the southern end of the Guildhall's West Range53.
The Bells of St Peter-at Gowts
Present Bells (2012):
Bells 1 to 6: MEARS AND STAINBANK FOUNDERS LONDON 1872. Other details for the six bells are as follows:
Diameter = 24.25", Weight = 3cwt 2qrs, Note F sharp
Diameter = 26.25", Weight = 4cwt 19Ibs, Note E
Diameter = 28.5", Weight = 5cwt 6lbs, Note D
Diameter = 30.5", Weight = 5cwt 2qrs 26Ibs, Note C sharp
Diameter = 32.5", Weight = 6cwt 2qrs 9lbs, Note B
Diameter = 35", Weight = 8cwt 3lbs, Note A
The bells cost £350.
Details of the previous bells as follows:
JAMES COCKELL EDMVND BROCKELLHVRST CHVRCHWARDENS 1718 (Founder: Humphrey Wilkinson II), Weight = 4cwt 3qrs 19Ibs
JESVS BE OVR SPEED + WP 1639 AB
(Founder: Augustine Bowler), Weight = 5cwt 1qr 20Ibs
Sce Petre GJS
(Founder: John Woolley circa 1530), Weight = 7cwt 2qrs 2lbs
The bells have not been rung for several years, due to the discovery of a substantial crack in the tower.
All of the bell information above taken from:
Ketteringham, A. J. (Ed.), Church Bells and Bell Founders of Lincolnshire, (Ketteringham, 2000/2009), p. 154
St Peter-at-Gowts and its possible Mithraic connection?
At St Peter-at-Gowts church (Lincoln), what appears to be a re-used Romano-British carved stone is located on the west face of the tower (below the string course, immediately above the single-light window). This is very much in contrast, to the re-used (Dedication) stone in the west face of the tower at nearby St Mary-le-Wigford, as the stone at St Peter-at-Gowts seems to depict a seated winged deity figure, described variously, as St Peter, Christ in Majesty, or a pagan god such as Jupiter, Mithras or Arimanius (whose similar appearance, to Christ or St Peter, on this extremely worn stone, would presumably have been noticed by the builders of the tower?).
In his 1997 article "Also a Soldier — Evidence for a Mithraeum in Lincoln", Dr David Stocker, argued the case that this very-worn, re-used stone may depict the Mithraic god Arimanius54. The cult of Mithras, a god of light and sun, had Indo-Iranian origins; and became very popular, especially among the military communities, within the Roman Empire, during the 1St — 4th centuries A.D.
In Britannia (Britain), excavated examples of Mithraic temples (Mithraea) are known at Cripplegate fort (London), Caernarvon, York, Rudchester; plus Carrawburgh and Housesteads on Hadrian's Wall55. Such buildings were relatively small, rectangular and partly below ground in order to make them dark inside (and thus represent the cave that Mithras was said to have been born in). The darkness was necessary, as various lighting effects played an important part in the rituals. The Mithraic sculptures at Carrawburgh and Housesteads appear to have holes made in them, so that a lamp's light could shine through them. A formal Mithraeum building was also usually aligned east-west, presumably so that the rising or setting sun could also cause other lighting effects to be seen inside (especially at the altar, at the eastern end of the building, where a representation of Mithras killing a bull, could be found).
In regards to their location in Roman Britain, these temples tend to found on the very edge of the (military community) settlement, outside of the defences. The excavated sites at London, York, Carrawburgh and Housesteads might also possibly confirm that each of these Mithraea were located close to a natural water source, as water was needed for the Mithraic purification rituals.
The figure on the St Peter-at-Gowts stone appears to be sat on some form of seat or throne. In his right hand, he appears to hold a sceptre. Below his left hand, appears to be the top loop of a large key. The figure, according to Dr Stocker, has a long face (and a long beard) with possibly a nimbus (halo) behind his head. The figure seems to be wearing a short tunic (kirtle) and some form of belt.
Dr Stocker argues that the full-on pose of the figure has no parallels - if it were to be interpreted as either a re-used Romano-British tomb monument, or a representation of St Peter. Christ is occasionally portrayed sitting in Majesty, in 10th — 12th century depictions but not earlier, and never wearing a short tunic.
'it is argued however, that the figure on the St Peter-at-Gowts church tower is, in terms of iconography at east, similar to a statue of a god (inscribed "Arimanius"), that was found in York in 1874. In the Mithraic religion, Mithras was the god of light and eternity, while his alter ego, Arimanius, was seen at various times, as the god of darkness, the god of the present, or the holder of the keys to the heavens.
Although Mithras and Arimanius are associated with each other, in Roman Britain, it is only in Eboracum (York), that sculptures of both gods have been recovered, from the same archaeological context (Micklegate). It has been conjectured, that the cult of Mithras became established in Brittania (Britain), when the emperor Septimius Severus was residing in Eboracum (York) during the period 208 - 211 A.D56.
The "Arimanius" statue at York, like that at St Peter-at-Gowts, is seated, with a full-on pose to the viewer. It too, holds keys from its left hand, while its right hand is posed in a way to allow it to hold a sceptre. The figure similarly wears a (skirt-like) short tunic, with a belt formed from the "serpent of eternity". The statue at York also has outstretched wings, and Dr Stocker argues that the stone at St Peter-at-Gowts may also possibly be depicting wings. The York statue has no head but a representation of Arimanius at Castel Gandolfo (Italy) shows that he had a lion's head. Dr Stocker thus suggests that the apparent long face and beard, on the St Peter-at-Gowts stone, may be a representation of a lion's face.
Why was the "Arimanius stone" not placed at the base of the tower, as was the Dedication stone at St Mary-le-Wigford? The written inscription on that stone needs to be at ground level, in order to be read but maybe that is not as essential, in the case of a purely pictorial stone? Both stones cause the viewer to look upwards to Heaven; either by looking up to see the "Arimanius stone", or directed to look up - by how the Old English text is written, in the top of the St Mary-le-Wigford stone. Alternatively, the "Arimanius stone" was only discovered (and added) once the tower was partly completed, or because of its only semi-convincing likeness to St Peter, it was best to place it higher up?"
The archaeological excavation of nearby St Mary's Guildhall (1982) at least confirmed that "domestic" Romano-British occupation had taken place along the eastern side of the High Street but did not show that there was any apparent evidence of Romano-British ritual activity57. This inference is not relevant however, as only excavation trenches placed directly into the St Peter-at-Gowts churchyard area, might help to prove or disprove the existence of Mithraeum foundations. In theory, the site is in the correct location for such a building, being on the very edge of (what was then) a Romano-British military settlement and near to a natural water supply58; however, it is neither practical nor ethical, to contemplate an excavation that may disturb a high concentration of human burials.
In the 19th century, the Reverend C. Jessot carefully inspected the figure of St Peter inserted high up in the tower of St Peter-at-Gowts and made a drawing of it. His remarks on that piece of sculpture are as follows: "As the principle figure and the key were discernible from below by the naked eye it was commonly assumed that it was the Apostle to whom the church was dedicated, and is so described in the histories of Lincolnshire. However, it now appears that the larger figure is that of Our Saviour seated, with the right hand uplifted and a book in the left hand: that in the upper corner on his left is a small figure of St Peter holding a key in one hand and a cross in the other: and on the opposite side there is some weather-worn sculpture which may probably have represented two angels"59.
Another close-examination of the St Peter-at-Gowts stone, high-up in the west face of tower, might allow new details to be seen (and the conflicting interpretations resolved) but the costs and practicalities involved, again presently make the idea unviable. Due to the stone's origin remaining unconfirmed, it may still possibly transpire in the future, that it is either a re-used Saxon stone, or a re-used Romano-British stone (be that Christ, St Peter, Arimanius etc.).
Postscript: The followers of Mithras believed that after their death, they would live in a state of Bliss until the time of the "Judgment of Mankind". On that day, the dead would return from their graves and Arimanius with his keys, would then unlock Paradise for those who had been judged faithful. Those who were rejected, or had not been baptized, would be destroyed by fire.
The Roman emperor Constantine officially combined the Christian and Mithraic religions into one, under the title of Christianity. He retained the title "Pontifus Maximus" (High Priest) for himself and had "Sol invicto comiti" (committed to the Sun) inscribed on his coins. In 313 A.D., Constantine declared that the date 25th December would be officially known as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Previously, the emperor Aurelian had decreed that the date 25th December was the official birthday of Mithras.
Bishop Edward King and the "Oxford Movement"
Edward King was born on the 29th December 1829. He was the second son of the Reverend Walker King, who was the Archdeacon of Rochester and the rector of Stone, Kent (the church in which, several memorials dedicated to the King family are to be found)60. His grandfather was the Reverend Walker King, Bishop of Rochester. The Reverend Robert Stuart King (his nephew), played football for England, in 1882.
Edward King graduated from Oriel College (Oxford University)61 and was ordained in 1854. Four years later, he became Chaplain and lecturer at Cuddesdon Theological College (now Ripon College, Cuddesdon). After being its Chaplain for five years, he became Principal of Cuddesdon62, from 1863 to 1873, before becoming Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology at Oxford and canon of Christ Church63.
He was the principal founder (in 1876) of the leading Catholic theological college in the Church of England, St Stephen's House, Oxford; now a Permanent Private Hall of the University of Oxford. He was also a great friend and associate of Edward Pusey (one of the prominent leaders of the "Oxford Movement") and a leading member of the English Church Union (which was formed on the 12th May 1859 to challenge the authority of the English civil courts to determine questions of Doctrine); but in Oxford itself, and particularly among his younger associates, his influence was said to be derived from his sincerity and charm.
The "Oxford Movement" was an Anglican High Church movement that eventually developed into AngloCatholicism. In early 19th century Victorian England, a number of Anglican churchmen became concerned in regard to what they saw as a decline of church life and the simultaneous establishment of less-orthodox practices, in the Church of England.
In 1833, when the British government began to reduce the number of Church of Ireland bishoprics and archbishoprics, this provided the inspiration for a sermon from John Keble, in the University Church in Oxford, on the subject of "National Apostasy". The reading of that sermon, in effect, represented the beginning of what would become known as the "Oxford Movement". John Keble, John Henry Newman and Edward Bouverie Pusey were the main leaders of the "Oxford Movement". Although the "Oxford Movement" gained influential support, it was also attacked by the Latitudinarians within the University of Oxford and by the Bishops of the Church.
The "Oxford Movement" was also known as the "Tractarian Movement" after its series of publications; "Tracts for the Times", published between 1833 and 1841 (in which it was argued that Anglicanism had preserved the historical apostolic succession of priests and bishops and thus the Catholic sacraments). Some of the "Oxford Movement" detractors referred to it as The Newmanites (pre-1845) or The Puseyites (post-1845).
Within the 19th century Anglican Church, the role of Ritual also became a subject of great, often passionate, debate. The debate was also associated with struggles for influence between the High Church ("Oxford Movement") and Low Church movements. The opponents of Ritualism argued that it privileged the actions of the ritual over the meanings that are meant to be conveyed by it. Its supporters maintained that a renewed emphasis on ritual and liturgy was necessary to counter the (then) increasing trend of more aspects of the church and laity becoming secular, rather than spiritual64.
The development of Ritualism in the Church of England was predominantly associated with the so-called "Second Generation" Anglo-Catholicism (i.e. the Oxford Movement as it developed after 1845, when John Henry Newman left the Church of England to become a Roman Catholic)65. Those rituals considered most important by the supporters of the Oxford Movement, were known as the "six points" and consisted of: the Eucharistic vestments (robes); the eastward-facing orientation of the priest at the altar (i.e. not standing at the prescribed northern side of the altar, the evangelical Anglican practice); using unleavened bread for the Eucharist; the mixing of water with the Eucharistic wine and the use of incense and candles (especially the practice of putting six candles on the high altar)66.
In order to curtail the apparent spread of Anglo-Catholic ritualism (and the influence of the Oxford Movement) within the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury (Archibald Campbell Tait) introduced a Private Member's Bill in Parliament that eventually became The Public Worship Regulation Act 1874.
Archbishop Tait's bill was supported by the Prime Minister of the day, Benjamin Disraeli, who described it as "a Bill to put down Ritualism". Disraeli also referred to the "Oxford Movement" practices as "a Mass in masquerade." Due to the Act's Protestant intentions, Queen Victoria also gave her support; however, the Liberal leader, William Ewart Gladstone, a High Church Anglican (who personally preferred the separation of Church from State), said that he felt disgusted that the liturgy had become "a parliamentary football".
The Church of England had regulated its worship practices, before the introduction of the Act, through the Court of Arches, with appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The 1874 Act brought about the creation of a new court, presided over by the former Divorce Court judge, Lord Penzance.
Section 8 of the Act allowed an Archdeacon, Church Warden or three adult male Parishioners to serve on the Bishop, a Representation, if in their opinion, unlawful additions / alterations to the church's fabric, ornaments or furniture had been made; if the incumbent (priest) had, in the preceding twelve months, used unlawful ornaments (or neglected to use the prescribed vestments or ornaments); or if the incumbent had, in the preceding twelve months, failed to follow the instructions given by "The Book of Common Prayer", or made unlawful additions, omissions or alterations in regards to services, rites and ceremonies.
The Bishop had the authority to halt the proceedings but, if he allowed them to proceed, the accused party had the opportunity to submit to his direction (albeit, with no right of Appeal). The Bishop was able to issue a Monition (i.e. order a clergyman to refrain from a specific act) but if the parties did not agree to recognise his jurisdiction, then they would be sent for trial. During the period 1877-1882, five clergymen were prosecuted and imprisoned (Rev Sidney Faithorn Green, Rev T. Pelham Dale, Rev Richard William Enraght, Rev James Bell Cox and Rev Arthur Tooth) while many more, throughout the period 1874-1906, became the subject of scandal, due to being summoned to appear at court.
The prosecutions ended in 1906, when a Royal Commission finally recognised the legitimacy of pluralism in worship. The 1874 Act however, still remained in force for another 59 years, finally being repealed on 1st March 1965, through the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measures of 1963.
Edward King was ordained Bishop of Lincoln67 in 1885 and held that office until his death in 1910. It was however, because he lit too many candles at a service (at St Peter-at-Gowts church, Lincoln, 4th December 1887), that Bishop Edward King was reported by his Parishioners and prosecuted (1888-1890) for "Ritualistic Practices"; firstly before the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edward White Benson, and then, on appeal, before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
The three Parishioners making the initial Representation to the Archbishop of Canterbury included Mr Ernest de Lacy Read (a Solicitor, who was also the churchwarden of Clee-cum-Cleethorpes). They said that Bishop King had unlawfully conducted the service in accordance with the "Six Points" (noted above), had further (unlawfully) made the sign of the cross, and had allowed the singing of the Agnus Dei after Consecration68.
The eventual result; was that Archbishop Benson ruled mainly in favour o
If you'd prefer to navigate using Google Maps please use the button below