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St John the Baptist, Alkborough, Lincolnshire

(53°41′6″N, 0°39′57″W)
SE 882 218
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Lincolnshire
now Lincolnshire
  • Thomas E. Russo
25 July 1996

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The lower part of the W tower is the oldest surviving part of the church and may date to the 1070’s; the top part of the tower, from the upper bell-stage to the crenellation is likely part of the 13th c. construction associated with the three-bay nave. The windows of the N aisle suggest a rebuilding in the first half of the 14th c. while those of S suggest renovations in the later 14th or 15th c. In the early 1880’s John Oldrid Scott added the chancel, designed with the 13th c. S doorway in mind. In the W tower, the capitals and arches of the bell-openings have late 11th c. features and the font in the nave is Romanesque.


Alkborough is recorded in Domesday Book but there is no mention of a church here in 1086. This is odd because documentary evidence suggests a church here as early as the 1050’s. Further, recent research on the W tower suggests a date c. 1070 for its construction which implies a fairly substantial structure here at the time the Domesday chroniclers were winding their way through the village. By the late 11th c. the church seems to have been given as a gift to Spalding Priory, by Ivo Taillebois; however this right of ownership was contested by Peterborough Abbey. For a summary of the tower dating and the dispute over possession of the church see Stocker and Everson.


Exterior Features



Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches




Though the Taylors dated the W tower of Alkborough to the late Anglo-Saxion period, Stocker and Everson consider it part of the impressive group of early Romanesque, parish church towers scattered throughout county. They have proposed that these towers are manifestations of a new Norman ritual associated with burial and, by extension, a symbolic claim of the new Norman power in the rural landscape.


Anon, "Alkborough Church" leaflet, n.p., n.d.

J. Morris, gen. ed., Domesday Book: Lincolnshire, vol. 31, Chichester: Phillimore, 1986: 8,29; 14,29.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire. London: Penguin, 1989 (1990), 95-96.

D. Stocker and P. Everson, "Rubbish Recycled: A Study of the Re-Use of Stone in Lincolnshire," in D. Parsons, ed., Stone: Quarrying and Building in England AD 43-1525, Chichester: Phillimore, 1990, 83-101.

D. Stocker and P. Everson, Summoning St. Michael: Early Romanesque Towers in Lincolnshire,Oxford: Oxbow, 2006, 94-99.

D. Stocker, "Fons et Origo: The Symbolic Death, Burial and Resurrection of English Font Stones," Church Archaeology 1 (1997): 17-25.

H. Taylor and J. Taylor, Anglo-Saxon Architecture, vol. I ,Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965, 23-24.