Thursday, 29 April 2021

St. Benedict's Square - Part 1

A carved head on the eaves of St. Benedict's church

Continuing with my walk along High Street, during my day out in Lincoln to explore its historic buildings, I next stopped at St. Benedict’s Square, where the Lincoln war memorial stands in front of the old St. Benedict’s church, which is now home to the Lincoln Diocese Mother’s Union.
The church and war memorial in St. Benedict's Square

The war memorial, dated 1922, is built in Ancaster limestone in a Gothic Revival style, with gabled diagonal buttresses, crockets and other elaborate decoration, especially the numerous angels, which would normally be found on a church.
An angel on the war memorial

St. Benedict’s church, built in yellowish Lincoln limestone, is an ancient building that is mentioned in 1107 and was formerly the Lincoln Civic Church. It was extensively damaged during the English Civil War, with the nave and north aisle being demolished, and only partly rebuilt later in the C17 using recycled stone.
The chancel of St. Benedict's church

Quickly walking around its exterior, starting at the south side of the former chancel, the fabric comprises coursed rubble masonry with ashlar blocks used for the buttresses and dressings. A C13 date is indicated by the lancet window on the right hand side, with three further 3-light pointed windows to the west having Decorated Gothic tracery, albeit restored, which are of the C14.
Carved heads on the corbel table

A particularly interesting feature on this elevation is the corbel table with often crudely carved heads, which reminds me of the church of St. John the Baptist in Adel and others that I have encountered during previous online research, which are Norman in date.
A general view of the south and west walls of the chancel

Moving along the chancel, a small Decorated Gothic 2-light window is seen at low level and, on the west end, marking the point where the nave previously existed, there is the blocked chancel arch with a capital and the top of a shaft deliberately left exposed.
An exposed capital and top of a shaft

Looking squarely at this west end, the chancel arch is quite unusual in that it is both four centred and very steeply pointed and above this is a blocked square opening whose purpose is unknown.
The west end of the chancel

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