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Church Post Code LN11 8RB

Open to visitors

Visited July 2020

Redundant : cared for by the Friends of Friendless Churches.


It was midsummer 2020; the warmest spell of the summer thus far. Two days had been taken off of work, with two churchcrawls in to Lincolnshire. I visited some fine and ornate churches over those two days; but the church of St John the Baptist at Sutterby, alone in a field with just a nave chancel and porch, gave me as many pleasant memories as any church visited over that two day period.

Sutterby is a tiny hamlet which can be found some nine miles south east of Louth and eight miles east of Horncastle. In 1931 the population of the parish was 24 and the parish merged with neighbouring Langton by Spilsby in 1936.

It appears as if the village here has always been small in size. The Domesday Survey entry in 1086, sees the figures for Sutterby, Dalby and Dexthorpe (a now deserted medieval village) included together, with an estimated 22 households and two churches between the three. It does appear that there was a church here though as a burial from the Domesday era was excavated which was under the existing church.


It appears that this tiny village was depopulated further by the Black Death in the 14th century but amazingly worship continued here until 1935, with services ceasing at that point. It was declared redundant in 1971 and was taken over in the early 1980’s by the Friends of Friendless Churches, who have cared for it since along with local volunteers.

The church that we see today consists of nave, south porch and chancel and has 12th century origins, with the oldest part of the present structure being a bricked in Norman north doorway, which has a delightfully off centre semi-circular arch. There was a bell turret here until the mid 20th century, but the two bells that hung here had been sold off to help church repairs in the 18th century.

The south porch is more recent, being built in 1743. The church is built from Spilsby sandstone and there are several areas that have been patched up with red brick, with these repairs dating from the 18th century.

This is beautiful! The church stands isolated in the field off a minor road, isolated except for a nearby farm; as different as possible from nearby Louth with its majestic tower and spire. There is something special about these surviving two cell buildings in villages that are abandoned or just have a scattering of houses. Fond memories of a cycling tour of South Lincolnshire a few years ago, cycling in a stiff headwind to take in a communion at Scott Willoughby, one of the smallest churches in Lincolnshire, with the village there consisting of the church, a house and a farm. They hold a monthly communion, with people from other churches coming over to support it.


The situation with regards Sutterby is different in that it is redundant, but it still survives; against the odds! St John the Baptist at Sutterby could easily have been lost to us for ever but it is still here for people to enjoy, thanks to volunteers over the centuries and organisations such as the Friends of Friendless Churches.

The church was open to visitors and it was good to step in to the cool interior, away from the outside heat. The interior is for the most parts empty, with pews no longer in place. Nave is separated from chancel by a 19th century chancel screen, with a modern pulpit close by. At the west end of the nave is a 14th century font. The rest of the church is empty.

The faded remains of a wall painting can be seen over the chancel screen. The chancel itself is empty with the exception of communion rails. There is no altar, with a cross and candles set out on the sill of the east window. There is no stained glass here.

Moving back outside, in to the heat of the afternoon, there was a delightful feeling of isolation here.  No noise at all apart from the insect and bird life. Looking around in every direction there was nothing except a single farm. Goodness only knows where the nearest moving car was! We were still very much in the grip of covid 19, with things destined to get far worse as the winter approached. Here though, at this time, we were far removed from the horrors that were going on around us. A joy to visit!



  Church Post Code PE23 4NP

Closed to visitors but open on revisit in August 2022


It was early afternoon and we were roughly half way through the day’s photography. We headed west towards neighbouring Bag Enderby; a charming hamlet which has a connection to poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson.

I know that it is a stereotype possibly but, when the occasion arises, the English really are the most polite nation on earth. We arrived at Bag Enderby, a hamlet consisting of a farm, manor house, church and a few houses. There is a lovely big area of grass to the north of the church and Gary parked up the van there.

There were a couple of lady hikers, out enjoying the sun and having a picnic lunch on the grass. As I walked past them and said hello; one of the ladies said. ‘If we are in the way just say and we will move’. They couldn’t possibly have been in the way if they had tried but it was really nice of them to say! The church was closed to visitors due to covid concerns on the original visit in 2020 but was open when we returned in the summer of 2022.


The church of St Michael dates from 1407, and was built with money left by Albinus De Enderby. Built of greenstone, which has been heavily patched up with red brick in places; the church consists of west tower, nave, south porch and chancel. A fairly basic structure with no aisles or clerestories.  Its biggest claim to fame was that the father of Alfred Lord Tennyson was rector here between 1807 and 1831; also being the rector at neighbouring Somersby. The church was closed to visitors on the day; covid restrictions still very much in evidence!

The church is set on slightly high ground and is buttressed throughout. The west tower has a very large three light window to the west face. Gargoyles surround the tower, these being very weathered and of great age. The patched up tower, when looked at close up is a thing of great beauty!

The porch here is a delight.  Seemingly put together with what was at hand and much patched over the years. The door itself is straight but the rest of the porch appears to be leaning over to the left at a precarious angle. A couple of photographs of this porch which I posted up on my Facebook page got more feedback than just about any other posted up during the year!


This was a church that I really wanted to see inside and the chance came in August 2022, when we revisited several previously locked churches. It was good to see the majority of churches in this area now open again to visitors.

Moving inside, there are wooden chairs instead of pews, with a restored 15th century screen separating nave from chancel. There is no stained glass here with the exception of some medieval fragments in the south west window of the chancel.

The chancel itself is plain and beautiful; less is more! The altar has a white altar cloth and just a cross on it. A piscina can be seen to the south wall of the nave, which would have been used to wash the holy vessels when the mass was taken. Apart from that, there are just a couple of memorials on the north wall.


One of these is to Andrew Gedney and his wife Dorothy (modern spelling).  She is named Dorothie and Dorathe on the epitaph, neither of which my spell checker cared for! She died June 7th 1591 and strangely Andrew’s date of death is not recorded, with the text reading ‘Andrew died the 7 of …’

The parents face each other across prayer desks; their hands clutched around prayer books. Two sons and two daughters line up behind, kneeling with hands raised in prayer. Curiously, the faces of the three female figures have been damaged. Below the figures is a carving of a human skull; the deaths head which points out to the onlooker that Man is mortal and will die.

The font is octagonal and dates to the 15th century. There are several interesting carvings on the bowl, including a shield with some of the instruments of Christ’s crucifixion, a musician playing a lute, a deer which appears to be eating leaves from a tree and a cross with laurel wreath draped around it. There is also a panel showing the pieta; the Virgin Mary cradling the body of her son; this one being carved in a very rustic fashion!



 Church Post Code PE23 4NP

Closed to visitors but open on revisit in August 2022.

We headed off a short distance to the north west, to neighbouring Somersby; so short a distance in fact that according to Google Bag Enderby and Somersby churches have the same post code!

As mentioned earlier, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s father was the record here and at Bag Enderby. He was born the fourth of 12 children and was raised in the rectory here in the village.

The church is set in picturesque surroundings, the tower tucked behind some trees as the visitor arrives from the west. This 15th century church is a fairly basic structure of west tower, nave, south porch and chancel, again of the local greenstone. The tower has a brick parapet at the top; and is very heavily buttressed. The church was closed to visitors on this initial visit, again due to covid concerns.


Entering the church grounds through a gap in the hedge and looking at the tower from the west, there is a great deal of patching here, with the tower obviously suffering a fair bit of damage over the years. There is a two light window to the west face of the tower, with the entire west wall above this having been rebuilt; this being roughly half the height of the tower!

The south porch has a sundial at the top, which is dated 1751; to the east of the porch is a churchyard cross. At first glance I thought that this was an ancient base with a more modern plinth and cross at the top. The top looked very weathered though and a quick internet check shows that the base is 15th century, the plinth is Victorian and the cross is restored from the 15th century. Christ crucified looks out to the south with the Virgin Mary and child on the north face.

A succession of bushes are dotted around the church grounds; making an uninterrupted view of the church from the south impossible. A box tomb to the west of the tower is a memorial to Tennyson’s father, John Clayton.


 Opposite the church to the south is a battlemented manor house, Somersby Grange,  which was designed by Sir John, Vanburgh, who designed Grimsthorpe Castle near to Bourne in South Lincolnshire. This was built for Robert Burton in 1722,

Secluded and peaceful! The kind of place to sit on a warm summer evening, with a pack up and cold drink; just escaping from life for a while; listening to thunder off in the distance.

As with Bag Enderby, the church here was open to visitors on the return trip in August 2022. It was good to enter inside and see a couple of visitors already in there. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they lived local to me and even more pleasantly surprised, nay astonished to hear that the man was a visitor to my website devoted to village churches around Peterborough.

The visitors left; and we wished each other happy churchcrawling. This is a very pleasant, simple interior. What appear to be Victorian pews dating from restoration of 1865 can be seen to north and south’ with the pews to the north being very narrow, with possibly no more than three people able to sit on each row.


This really is a beautiful part of Lincolnshire, seen at its best on a gloriously sunny and warm day. It was getting time to start heading back towards Peterborough. As is often the case, we were on a severe weather warning for storms after the heat, and as usual we failed to get any. Three fabulous churches; all worth taking a look at if you are around this area.

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