Excursion Reports 2008

Kings Lynn and the church’s of Terrington St. Clements and Tilney All Saints

By Liz Cole

As usual, we started off in style, riding in our luxury coach, and passing the traditional bag of toffees round. Barry had arranged good weather, and we stopped for our coffee break at a charming hotel in Munford. Some of us took advantage of the good weather and dined alfresco accompanied by the five outdoor staff, who cleared the resulting crumbs of our delicious scones with great alacrity. See picture.


On arriving at Kings Lynn everyone split off to do their own thing and explore the towns beautiful old architecture and take lunch. There were some stunning examples of wonderful buildings put to good use, such as the corn exchange and this wonderful old church converted to an arts centres.


Next stop after lunch was the village church of Terrington St. Clement famous for its 15th century font and its unusual painted font cover added in the late 17th century. The style of the architecture is mainly perpendicular. Some of the grand plans may have been curtailed by the advent of the black plague, as the stone was quarried in Northamptonshire and ferried down the Nene ~ no cheap stuff here! The clerestory windows fill the church with light and the exterior is most imposing.

Terrington St. Clements

Outside, the tower is sitting ‘next door’ to the main body of the church, as the ground plan was originally to be a central tower, like that of Ely’s, when that central tower collapsed they wisely changed their minds at the last minute. There is an excellent guide with some good drawings of the exterior, plus interior features. Well worth having.

Queen Anne Coat of Arms
Queen Anne Coat of Arms

Ron spotted a rare Queen Anne coat of arms in the huge area through the porch, seen displayed, before visitors could walk through a vast oak screen via a door to the body of the church and the font.

All Saints, Tilney

In contrast the church at All Saints, Tilney, was a cosier atmosphere in all but temperature! With Norman pillars, in arcades north and south providing a solid support to the beautiful hammer beam roof, festooned with angels. They were notoriously shy of my camera, and lurked mainly in the dark when I asked them to pose. Under the choir stalls were the ‘amplifiers’ of the day to assist the choristers’ volume. The magnificent rood screen, with its doors continued either side in front of the tiny side chapels and hand pumped organ. The floor tiles, which were uneven and untouched, added extra charm to this church, even the much-needed hideous electric plug-in fire next to the organist’s seat, didn’t detract. The porch/schoolroom was unusually large with a brick chimney (to keep the priest/teacher warm?) built in. An upper chamber possibly for visiting priests, is to be restored in time.

Old school roof & bell tower

Immediately out side the churchyard, I was struck by the sad little building up for sale. The carving over both doors, either side of the derelict walls, declared BOYS and GIRLS, and on the roof could still be seen where the school bell must have rung. Perhaps somebody will restore it sympathetically in the future, who knows what stories it had to tell?

Great day out as usual, educational and fun. If you are reading these pages and haven’t yet come on an outing, come along and give it a try ~ you won’t regret it, especially if you like toffees!


Lincoln Cathedral – By Liz Cole

(With additional material & photographs by Mike Crome)

First impressions on entering the cathedral
Carvings on the pillars

On arriving at Lincoln, some of the group departed hastily to the old town for earthly sustenance and some entered the cathedral for the spiritual menu first. I thought the first view as one enters was absolutely stunning, and the scale of the architecture astonishing. There was enough to see to take up two days worth, and the map was sorely needed as the building seemed as big as the town itself. All too easy to get lost in the aisles and chapels, and all too easy to miss some of the wonderful features in thishuge building. Highlights for me through the mental overload was the modern stations of the cross, so beautifully realised in marquetry, compared to the early medieval cheeky carvings reminiscent of passion plays staged on waggons; the exhibition of flowers and their meaning and symbolism in art; the Lincoln ‘imp’; the carving on the wooden font and the fantastic stone carving everywhere!

The view from high up, looking towards the alter
The bell ringers room

Some of us were lucky enough to join a small group and were given a tour of the roof. This meant climbing narrow staircases and walking along narrow ledges, but the views were stunning. We also visited the bell ringers room after climbing the many narrow winding steps, how anyone would have the energy to start ringing the bells, we certainly couldn’t. Our guide said they used to ring the bells for upto 4/5 hours on special occasions. I don’t think we could even manage 5 mins.

Model of the cathedral

The model of the cathedral on the left is housed in the room behind the twin tall thin windows in the roof space between the base of the two towers. The model seen includes the steeples that once existed on all three towers, which it is believed made the cathedral the tallest building in europe for a short time until they were brought down by high winds, and have never been replaced. Just below these windows can be seen a round window, from where the photo above the model was taken.

The high alter
The magnificent high alter, bathed in a blaze of light.

Tottering out for respite, we passed many people coming back from the Magna Carta, (the pub, not the one in the castle!) which offered to supply the strong desire for chips, but we all succumbed to their sausage and mash in the end. After all we were in Lincoln sausage territory. We then found two family butchers shops in the old town, (weep your heart out Sudbury!) to buy the real thing.

Roman gateway with guardhouse
Roman gateway with guardhouse

While others took advantage of the guided tour around the cathedral I managed to get two shots in focus and snap the old Roman gateway into town, with its quaint little guardhouse cum cottage built in into the structure at a much later date.

Please Barry, could we go again some time? There was too much to take in one go on a first visit to the cathedral, I missed the guided tour, a visit to the castle and the document of the Magna Carta, and I never found the tomb of Katherine Swinford, practically none of my shots of the interior of Lincoln cathedral came out, and I need to call back to try the chips!

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