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All Saints, Elsham, Lincolnshire

(53°35′55″N, 0°26′9″W)
TA 036 125
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Lincolnshire
now Lincolnshire
  • Thomas E. Russo
  • Thomas E. Russo
21 December 2000

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Elsham is a small village in the North Lincolnshire district, 4 miles NE of Brigg and 7 miles S of the Humber estuary at Barton-upon-Humber. The church is on the N side of the town centres and is a rather singular church in plan consisting of a nave with a N transept (vestry), a chancel as long as the nave, and a W tower with square headed windows at the bell-stage. The N wall is 12th c. but the bulk of the church appears to be the 1873-74 restoration work of William S. Champion. The W tower arch into the nave, the chancel doorway, and two reset fragments of sculpture are Romanesque.


Four hlodings in Elsham are recorded in the Domesday survey. The largest is that of the Bishop of Lincoln, assessed at 2 carucates and 2 bovates of land and held from him by Joscelin, the Bishop's man. This was held before the Conquest by Wulfmaer. Geoffrey Alselin held 2 carucates and 2 bovates in Elsham in 1086, and Ilbert held a further 7 bovates from Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. Finally a holding of 9 bovates was held by Earnwig from Roger de Poitou, that was held by William in 1066. There is no mention of a church here in any of these manors.

The vill and the church were given by Beatrice d'Amundeville as a foundation gift to her priory of Austin canons at Elsham before 1166. Near the end of the 12thc Jocelyn d'Amundeville gave the endowments of the house to the Knights Hospitaller, but afterwards changed his mind and confirmed the gifts of his grandmother to the prior and canons. Jocelyn may be a family name suggesting that this family were descendants of the Domesday lord Joscelin.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

Both the W tower arch into the nave and the window above it appear to be good 12th c. work, although Pevsner describes the window as Saxon. The W wall of the nave, now under a coat of plaster, may be of the 12th c., which along with the N wall of the nave suggests that there is more original building here than Pevsner suggests. H. K. Bonney’s “Church Notes” written in 1846 describe a church in good upkeep so that perhaps the Champion restoration was not the complete rebuild suggested by Pevsner (see Boast). Pevsner suggests that the chancel doorway seeems Transitional, presumably on the basis of the chamfered jambs and arch.


N. Boast, Elsham Church and Parish: A Brief History. Elsham.

  1. N. Pevsner and J. Harris, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, Harmondsworth 1964, 232.

Victoria County History: Lincolnshire, Vol. 2 (1906), 171-72 (on Elsham Priory)