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St Sebastian, Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire

(52°55′58″N, 0°40′0″W)
Great Gonerby
SK 897 381
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Lincolnshire
now Lincolnshire
  • Thomas E. Russo
  • Thomas E. Russo
16 November 2000

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Feature Sets

Great Gonerby is a village in the South Kesteven district of the county, on the north, western edge of Grantham. The church is on the E side of the High Street, and is built of coursed ironstone rubble and limestone ashlar. It consists of a W tower with a spire, an aisled nave with a clerestorey and a S porch, and a rectangular chancel. The nave, side aisles, and chancel date from the early 14thc. while the W tower and clerestory are from the 15thc. The nave has four bays: the S arcade is entirely from the 13thc, but the N arcade is from the 14th/15thc., except for bay 1 at the E end, which dates from the end of the 12thc. and is recorded here. The church was restored in 1874.


Great Gonerby was held by the king in 1086, and was assessed at 7 carucates. A second holding belonged to Morcar before the Conquest and was assessed at 1½ carucates. In 1086 it was held by Lambert from the Bishop of Durham. The Bishop of Salisbury held a further carucate, held from him by St Wlfram's in Grantham. Walter d'Aincourt held a further 1½ carucates, held from him by Alwig. A small holding of 3 bovates was held by Guy de Craon in 1086.

In the late 13thc. two parts of the tithe of the lord of Great Gonerby went to the dean and chapter of Lincoln Cathedral, the third part of which must have gone to the church at Great Gonerby (see Hill).


Interior Features



The capitals have been scraped or re-cut. On the E respond there is a crack on the N face which divides the E half from the W. The E half looks good, but the smooth surface treatment and the almost perfect symmetry on the rest of the capital look suspicious. Two further points support the idea of E half of the N face being good 12thc. material and the rest being a 19thc. insertion: the necking on the E half of the N face is thinner than that on the rest of this capital and the bottom of the capital ends at the necking on this good section, but on the rest of the capital it extends to 0.015 m. below the necking. Is this the work of the 1874 restoration? Pevsner accounts for the extra width of the nave E bays as having originally been the transept arches of an aisle-less church. If this was indeed the case, then these respond shafts of the nave arcade are in fact in-situ elements of the 12thc. N transept arch.

  1. F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, 3 vols, London 1899, vol.3, 133.
  1. F. Hill, Medieval Lincoln. Cambridge, 1948 (1990), 70.

Historic England Listed Building. English Heritage Legacy ID: 193920

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, Harmondsworth 1990, 329-30.