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St Michael, Edenham, Lincolnshire

(52°46′43″N, 0°25′37″W)
TF 062 213
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Lincolnshire
now Lincolnshire
  • Thomas E. Russo

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The earliest evidence for the church here are the remains of two roundels that formed part of an Anglo-Saxon string course in the wall above the S aisle nave arcade. The arcades themselves, N and S, are of the 13thc. as is the S doorway. The rest of the church, including the W tower, S porch, and clerestory, are of the Perpendicular period, as is the ornate wooden 15thc. roof. Chancel arch restored in 1808 to make it conform to the style of the nave arcades. There is a reset doorway and a font here, which are Romanesque.


The doorway was reset here, by the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, in 1967 when the chapel to which it originally belonged, at Mitchell Farm in Scottlethorpe, was demolished. The chapel at Scottlethorpe began as a manorial chapel for the Amundeville family in the 12thc. and survived through the Middles Ages as a parochial chapel of St Michael, Edenham (see Owen). Both Edenham and Scottlethorpe are mentioned in Domesday Book, but there is no reference to a religious structure at either location. This is unusual in the case of Edenham as the Anglo-Saxon remains of St Michael's church argue for the existence of a substantial pre-Conquest structure and the population cited in Domesday Book suggests a sizeable village in 1086. By 1125-30, St. Michael's was in possession of the Augustinian canons of Bridlington Priory, Yorkshire (fd. c. 1114), having been a foundation gift from Walter de Gant (see Burton). At Scottlethorpe, the value of the land held by Robert of Tosny and Guy of Craon decreased dramatically between 1066 and 1086 to the point where they had become 'waste'. The fact that by the next century a manorial chapel was being built at Scottlethorpe speaks to the expanding practice of land reclamation for new settlement in this part of the county. Before its destruction in 1967 the Scottlethorpe parochial chapel it had been used as a barn.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration





Reset doorway: The shallow, incised designs of the tympanum suggest that it is an unfinished piece. Its construction from a single block of stone is similar to the tympani at St Benedict, Haltham and St Clement, Rowston. The Edenham tympanum does share motifs with these two tympani: namely the flared arms of a cross within an inscribed circle and rows of saltire crosses in a horizontal register. Whereas the Haltham and Rowston tympani seem to be by the same hand or workshop, the organizational clarity and symmetry of the Edenham work sets it apart from these northern examples. The use of incised lines to mimic voussoirs and their integration within the tympanum block is unusual. In the second order arch, the human face keystone appears to be a corbel that was inserted here; at what date it is unclear, but its dimensions in relation to the other voussoirs argues against it being original to this setting. It may indeed be of the 12thc., but its worn condition makes dating difficult.

Font: The waterleaf capitals suggest a late 12thc. date and this is where Pevsner places the font, but with a question mark. There are clearly some suspicious characteristics to this font. The misalignment between bases and columns suggest a major intervention on this font at some point in time. The high relief, ovoid plan of the columns is unusual as is the absence of terminal drill holes at the base of the waterleaves on the capitals and the design of the double lobed arches. The extremely smooth, clean interior surface of the font may be from re-cutting, or is it a result of this font being of more recent manufacture? Finally, the proportions too are unusual for the county. This font is massive, comparable in h. only to that at St Julian, Benniworth, which is 0.995 m and is primarily a 19thc. reconstruction based on good 12thc. fragments.


Domesday Book: Lincolnshire. Scottlethorpe. 18,18; 57,14

J. Burton, The Monastic Order in Yorkshire, 1069-1215. Cambridge, 1999, 70.

D. Owen, Church and Society in Medieval Lincolnshire. History of Lincolnshire, Vol. 5. 1971 (2nd ed. 1990)., 7-8.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire. London, 1990, 268-70.