On 25th June 2016 Bishop Tim Ellis took a group of enthusiasts around four Georgian neo-classical churches, starting with the grandest and most magnificent ~ All Saints’ in Gainsborough. Bishop Tim explained the deliberate Georgian movement away from mediaeval gothic design to the classical, as a result of the industrial revolution and the rising literate population moving from the rural areas to the growing industrial towns such as Gainsborough. The emphasis in these times was on teaching the scriptures rather than the more mystical areas of liturgy and sacrament. Hence the new churches took their designs from the teaching basilicas of ancient Rome and Greece instead of the traditional liturgical design of the gothic church. He also explained the extraordinary munificence of Queen Anne’s Bounty ~ she left in her will a million pounds for church building which must have helped considerably in financing these beautiful buildings!
All Saints’ church is lovely, with pale violet coloured walls ~ not a traditional colour but very pretty ~ gilded cornices and beautiful chandeliers. It was originally able to hold over a thousand people but cannot manage quite that number today. Bishop Tim
From Gainsborough to Saxby St Helen’s, an enchanting church which would probably nearly fit into the Vestry at Gainsbrough! It is thought to have probably been designed by Capability Brown for the Earl of Scarborough and meant originally as a mausoleum for the family. It has all the classical features in miniature plus a lovely Palladian portico with a glorious view over the surrounding countryside. It was here that we had our picnic lunches amid the manicured acres of this delightful village. Bishop Tim confessed that this was his favourite amongst all Lincolnshire churches and few could disagree.
Stainfield-by-Langworth was our next stop. Cunningly hidden in a farmyard, it had all of us guessing as we headed down a narrow lane. Again this is small, but plainer than Saxby with pieces of the mediaeval church integrated within the classical building. Onwards then to Cherry Willingham, where the church of Ss Peter and Paul stands on a small hillock surrounded by a peaceful cemetery. This church is small, dignified and rather darker than the previous ones, perhaps because of the dark red paint used on the pews. It has exquisite detailing though and also an interesting more modern bell turret on the roof which is perfectly in keeping.
The day finished with tea in the local café and, as it is to be Bishop Tim’s last tour for the Trust, a small presentation was made to him on behalf of us all.
We hope that the Bishop’s Tour for 2017 will be led by The Bishop of Lincoln and details are currently being discussed.