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Wilshamstead Church Architecture

The church seen from the south March 2012
The church seen from the south March 2012

The church at Wilshamstead dates back to at least 1235 as that is when the first known vicar was instituted but it is likely that there was a church here long before that. The oldest parts of the present building, All Saints, date to the 14th century.

The interior looking east June 2012
The interior looking east June 2012

The church is built of coursed ironstone rubble with ashlar dressings made of oolite and chalk. It comprises a chancel, a nave, north and south aisles, a north vestry, a south porch and a west tower.

The south door and porch March 2012
The south door and porch March 2012

The oldest part of the church we see today is south door which dates to about 1340. The porch, however, is 19th century, having been completely rebuilt in 1872 and 1873.

The south aisle looking east June 2012
The south aisle looking east June 2012

Also 14th century is the south arcade with its rounded capitals. This means that both the nave and south aisle must be of that date.

Angle piscina in the south aisle June 2012
Angle piscina in the south aisle June 2012

A splendid piscina from the 14th century remains at the east end. The east window of the south aisle is, however, 19th century.

The north aisle looking east June 2012
The north aisle looking east June 2012

It looks as if the church underwent considerable updating in the 15th century. The north arcade is of this date, so the north aisle must be of the same date though the listing by the former Ministry of Public Buildings and Works notes that it was: “apparently rebuilt more recently”.

The nave roof June 2012
The nave roof June 2012

The roofs of both aisles and the nave are also 15th century. The south windows also date from this time. Both the north and south walls of the nave have a clerestory of four windows.

The brass of William Carbrok June 2012
The brass of William Carbrok June 2012

There is a brass of a priest called William Carbrok in the north aisle. The stylistic details suggest that this dates to about 1430. There is no William Carbrok listed as vicar of Wilshamstead but our list, gleaned from records held by the Diocese of Lincoln, is incomplete for the Middle Ages.

Wilstead church from the south about 1820 [Z1045]
Wilstead church from the south about 1820 [Z1045]

The medieval tower collapsed in 1742. Until 1851 the church had no tower. A drawing of about 1820 shows a wooden belfry, erected on top of the west end of the nave.

Sedile in the south wall of the chancel June 2012
Sedile in the south wall of the chancel June 2012

The original church certainly had a chancel but today’s chancel is the work of 1872 and 1873. The north vestry dates to the same time. The parish room is 20th century.

The parish room seen from the south-west March 2012
The parish room seen from the south-west March 2012