A potted History

St. Mary’s Church
Kirkby on Bain
A Potted History

pottedHistory_church_150Built on the River Bain, a church has been on this site for about 900 years. This is known because whenever KIRK (meaning Church) forms part of a place-name, it tells us that there was a church existing before that time. So since Kirby was mentioned in the Doomsday book in 1085, we may be quite certain that a church was here in Saxon days. The present church was built in or about 1802.

The earliest knowledge we have of a church being on this site is a slight mention in a volume of a Lincoln Record Society entitled “the State of the Church “ by Canon Foster. He tells us that in 1602 “The Church and the Chancel are in very good repayre , and kept decently yet the Steple ys decaied in the leede wch ys feared wyll never be repayred, the pouertie of the inhabitants ys so greate”.

The next information we gather is from Holles the Historian of 1640. He says that he saw in the Rectory, coats of arms in stained glass which were probably originally in the church. They may have been just the remnants left after the Puritans had done their worst. Holles also mentions two monuments in the Chancel to the memory of the two Rectors, Richard Lambard and William Bullier, but these, with the glass have entirely disappeared. Holles also mentions a handsome stone pulpit. It seems that at that time, our Church was richly furnished inside by the gifts of wealthy people like Richard Lambard, William Butler, Arthur Dymoke and Richard Nessin in whose wills bequests to and mentions of St. Mary’s are made.

In the Gentleman’s Magazine of August 1801, there is a short account of the Church then standing, and an engraving which gives a clear picture of it’s state of dilapidation at that time.The present church built very shortly after this, the date seen on the porch being 1802.


It is quite possible that in building this in 1802, a great deal of the old material was used again. Of course, the bricks are modern, but the large blocks of stone with which the Nave is built may well have been part of the first church.

During the time of the Rev. C.F.R. Baylay, he improved the church by putting stone mullions (which before were wood) in the windows, and replacing the oak pews with new pitch pine open sittings. At that time also, the western Gallery was taken away.

The church was re-opened after these alterations by Bishop Wordsworth on the 6th November 1899. In 1926 it was decided that a War Memorial, a coloured window, should be put at the east end. The amount contributed exceeded all expectations and there was sufficient money to also put two single lights on either side, as well as, the central three light window. The glass is by William Morris and the subject “The Resurrection”. In the two smaller windows are figures representing “Valor” and “Fortitude”.

In or about 1933, there were two other improvements, at the west end of the church. The last three pews on either side were removed; those on the North side to make room for a Vestry and those on the South for a Children’s corner. The need for a vestry was felt necessary at that time, as a robed choir had then started. It is made of solid oak, and the design and building was of local workmanship. In the centre of the Children’s Corner is the font, brought about that time from Kirkstead. Sadly, the vestry is now disbanded.

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