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St Mary and All Saints, South Kyme, Lincolnshire

(53°1′57″N, 0°15′32″W)
South Kyme
TF 16854 49788
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Lincolnshire
now Lincolnshire
  • Thomas E. Russo
11 October 2000

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South Kyme is a village about 12 miles NW of Boston on the River Slea (also called 'Kyme Eau'). The church lies to the W of the village and the discovery of six fragments dated between the late 8th and the early 9thc, now reset in the E end of the N wall, suggests that the site was previously occupied by an Anglo-Saxon church. The building, as it stands today, is primarily the remains of the 14thc W end of the S aisle and the S part of the nave of the Augustinian priory church. The building was partially rebuilt in 1805 and then extensively restored by Charles Hodgson Fowler in 1888-90. Romanesque sculptural elements consist of the S doorway, three reset capitals and a grave cover.


The Domesday Survey records that in 1066 'Chime' was held by Earl Morcar and Tonni of Lusby; in 1086 part of it returned to King William, and the remaining part passed under the lordship of Egbert, being Gilbert of Ghent tenant-in-chief. The Survey also records the presence of a priest. The Augustinian priory was founded sometime before 1156 by Philip of Kyme. This priory was dissolved in 1539. Besides the church, a 14thc tower standing in solitude in the field to the S of the church is the only other architectural remnant of this priory to have weathered the vagaries of time.


Exterior Features


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


It is tempting to say the R capital of the second order is an unfinished piece, but its surface is consistent with the capital of the third order adjacent to it which suggests that at some time both of these capitals were in a different, shared context than their current location. The taller height of the second order capitals in comparison with those of the third order, associates them with the reset capital number 2 in the SE interior corner. The misalignment of the dovetail roll in the third order arch and abutment is clear evidence for a resetting of the door. A similar parallel to the lion-head keystone of the label is found at St Michael's at Edenham where there is a figure-head keystone, though there it is located in the arch of the second order.

It is probable that all these reset fragments were discovered during the 1888-90 renovation, when also six Anglo-Saxon fragments were discovered.

The house immediately S of the church has a number of old architectural fragments lining the driveway. These fragments may have come from the church. One fragment, located in front of the W bay window, is a late 12thc nook-shaft capital with flat leaves. Permission to photograph this capital was denied by the homeowner.


D. Knowles, Medieval Religions Houses: England and Wales, London 1971, 142.

'The church of St Mary and All Saints, South Kyme', Reports and papers of the architectural and archaeological societies of the counties of Lincoln and Northampton, vol. 20 (1889), LXVII.

D. M. Owen, Church and Society in Medieval Lincolnshire, Lincoln 1971, 149.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, London 1990, 664-5.

P. Everson and D. Stocker, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, Lincolnshire, vol. 5, Oxford 1999, 291.