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Church Post Code  NG33 4QA

Open to visitors


It was a gloriously sunny February morning in 2023, with not a cloud in the sky; time for a revisit to the church of St Peter at Creeton. This was the sixth church of the day visited, with all six being open, albeit with two of these being opened up by friendly church wardens. The intention was to visit churches to the west of Bourne, crossing the border in to Rutland by early afternoon.

I should probably start off this page with an apology to all who live close to the church. Fortunately, this does not amount to a great number of people as there are only a few houses in this tiny hamlet.

 My visit here prompted some high pitches barking from a small dog close to the church, which in turn set off what sounded like a dozen others; but which in reality was more like two or three. As church alarm systems go, this is a good, albeit noisy one!

Creeton can be found in an area of attractive countryside and small villages to the west of Bourne. As the crow flies, Bourne is four miles or so away across the fields. This is an area that I am very fond of; having spent a few cycling churchcrawls here over the years. It is quiet and peaceful here; well, it was until I set the dogs off!


A quick look at the Domesday Survey showed that there were 21 households listed, roughly the same that it is today! There was no church or priest mentioned here at that point but, as we shall see in a minute or two, there are things here which pre date the church.

The church here stands on high ground to the east of the village; sitting behind an ivy encrusted churchyard wall; and consists of western tower with spire, large south chapel and chancel. This is a fairly basic structure, with no aisles or clerestories and no porch. The church dates back to the late 12th century, with most of the structure dating from then to the late 13th century. There were two periods of 19th century restoration here, with the chancel being shortened in 1830 and the nave being rebuilt in 1853. It is thought that there was once a north aisle here.

I approached the church from the east, and took a look around the church grounds. The trees were skeletal, with large clumps of mistletoe in several. Over to the north of the church grounds are some beautiful old chimneys. Memories of being on a bus heading in to Walsingham in Norfolk several years ago, listening to a conversation between two people regarding the hobby of a friend of theirs. Evidently, he travelled the country photographing old chimneys; they weren’t mocking him at all but there was a resigned ‘bless him, why on earth does he do this’ air about the chat. Without knowing for sure, I feel that I have been on the end of several such conversations over the years.

Personally, I think that his hobby is rather a nice thing to do. Churches, chimneys, Eddie Stobart lorry number spotting; it doesn’t matter. It gets you out and about; better than sitting at home watching Love Island, particularly on a glorious day such as this!


Looking at the exterior, the three stage tower dates from the late 13th century and has two small buttresses at the west end. Stone heads peer out from the two light windows at the belfry stage; a curious pigeon peers down from tracery in the south face. A squat broach spire rises up, with two tiers of gabled lucarne windows.

Entry is through a door to the south with ancient stone heads set to either side of the door, looking out at those entering.  One head with long hair peers out through sightless eyes! A single stone head at the apex of the nave looks out to the east.

The south chapel is substantial given the size of the church, with the roof standing a little above the roof of the chancel. Evidence here of some wealth here in the past!

When Thomas North compiled his list of church bells in Lincolnshire, which was published in 1882, he did not cover the bells here, just noting that there were two bells in the ring; and explaining that the framework around the bells was too unsound to allow an inspection.

He concludes by saying that it was believed that both bells were comparatively modern. This is not backed up though by checking out the National Church Bell Database, which lists the first of the ring as being circa 1300 with the second circa 1700, with no founder attributed to either.


As mentioned earlier, there are things here which pre date the present church. There are two late Saxon cross shafts in the grounds. The one close to the south door dates back to the 10th century, and was possibly altered during the 11th century; with Saxon interlace work mixed in with Norman work.

The second is a little further away from the church, off to the north west of the tower, close to the gate leading to the rectory. This is dated solely to the 10th century with interlace decoration on three sides and vine scroll on the fourth.

There is a further stone, from this period, this one just a fragment, by the south door and Pevsner notes a few other similar fragments built in to the walls.

So we have items here which pre date this late 12th century church. Does this suggest that there was a previous structure on this site, or possibly have these Saxon items come from another church in the area? The answer is probably lost in the mists of time.


The church here was open to visitors, as it was on my previous visit here, back on a bright but bitterly cold day in March 2015. Moving inside, it was bright and welcoming in the nave, despite there being no clerestory windows; sunlight streaming in through the south window of the south chapel.

The walls are whitewashed and the pews appear to date from the restoration of 1853, at which point the nave was rebuilt. The church here is dedicated to St Peter, and a Mother’s Union banner indicates this; but curiously the banner depicts the Virgin Mary, standing on a cloud and holding the Baby Jesus. Perhaps this simply indicates Anglo Catholic worship here!

The three light east window of the chancel has stained glass in the central panel; this depicting Jesus as the Good Shepherd. There are no sedilia or piscina in the chancel. The official listing states that the chancel was shortened in 1830. This being the case, it is likely that these would have been lost during the rebuilding.

Looking at the picture now, a line of ancient stone burial slabs can be found immediately to the east of the chancel. If these are in situ then they would have originally been inside the chancel, possibly lined up before the altar in medieval times.


The altar is plain and simple, with green altar cloth; this being the liturgical colour for the ‘ordinary time’ between Christmas and Easter.

Apart from the stained glass in the east window, the only other stained glass here can be found at the west end of the nave; with this being a depiction of St Peter, unusually shown with a full head of hair rather than receding hairline; holding the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

The tower arch itself dates back to the 13th century, and has dogtooth decoration on the north side of the arch. Above the arch, off centre to the south, is a blocked in doorway. The 13th century tub font is plain, apart from some crosses carved in to the rim, with circular base and octagonal bowl.

The south chapel does retain some of its history, with a piscina, which would have been used to wash the holy vessels used in the mass, to be found on the south wall. At one point there would have been an altar here as well. It is likely that this would have been a chantry chapel, with a team of clergy employed to pray for the donor and their families, and the souls of the dead, in pre reformation days.


The church grounds are of interest but, with the exception of the two Saxon crosses, there is nothing in the grounds which has its own listing. The line of ancient stone slabs with raised crosses to the east of the church, previously mentioned, is suggested to be for monks from the Cistercian Abbey of Vaudey from nearby Grimsthorpe. This was founded in 1147, too late for the Saxon crosses to have come from there, and was dissolved in 1536.

It was good to be back here again. This is a church that I am very fond of, and this extends to the general area as well. An exquisite village church with a wealth of history set in picturesque surroundings. Well worth taking a look at if you are around.

It was time to hit the road again; a few miles south west to Witham on the Hill, where the run of open churches was extended!



Church Post Code NG33 4JZ

Open to visitors

On that same bright February morning we also visited neighbouring Swayfield another small attractive South Kesteven village. We had come in from the north having previously visited Corby Glen; the plan being to continue to head south for a while before crossing the county line in to Rutland and spending the rest of the afternoon there before the light faded.

There is some interesting history here. At the time of the Spanish Armada in 1588 it is thought that signalling beacons were put up in the village. A modern fire basket was erected in 1988 to mark the 400th anniversary of this. During the Second World War, two dummy airfields were built here, the remains of which can still be seen.

Close by was a deserted medieval village, Sudwelle, which was mentioned in the Domesday Survey but appears to have been abandoned by the mid 16th century.


The church of St Nicholas sits in very attractive surroundings, with the church itself to be found in a secluded area to the south east of the village.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky but the frost had still not cleared from the shaded areas. Taking in the church from the south, it certainly appeared at first glance that something fairly catastrophic might have happened here back in time, with the tower looking a lot older than the rest of the structure.

There was no church mentioned here at the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086; in fact there was little here of any description at that time with the village consisting of just ten households. The church that we see today consists of west tower, nave and chancel with north vestry; and dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries, with the nave and chancel being rebuilt between 1875 and 1878; and a north aisle being added at that time. Some sources state a rebuilding date of 1824 but I have gone with what is suggested in the official listing.

The square west tower dates back to the 13th century, battlemented and of three stages. The Victorian nave and chancel are devoid of any carvings; no gargoyles or grotesques here and there are is no clerestory here. There are fairly steeply pitched slate roofs on nave and chancel and the whole structure is heavily buttressed. I have not found out what led to the major rebuilding work here, but possibly the amount of buttressing might give a clue to what happened to parts of the original structure.


There are three bells in the ring here and, again, these were looked at by Thomas North; with nothing having altered since his work was published in 1882. The first of the rind was cast by Thomas I Eayre of Kettering in 1753, with bell having the name of the Rector of the day John Harbin. The other two in the ring were each cast locally, by Tobias I Norris, who started the Stamford Bellfoundry.

Each of these bells has a Latin inscription. The second is inscribed ‘OMNIA FIANT AD GLORIAM DEI’ ‘Let all things be done for the glory of God’. This bell is dated 1625 and is one of his later bells, with Tobias passing away the following year.

 The third is inscribed ‘NON SONO ANIMABUS MORTUORUM SED AURIBUS VIVENCIUM’ which translates as ‘I sound not for the souls of the dead but for the ears of the living’. This bell was cast in 1613.


Whilst at Corby Glen, I had been tipped off that the church at Swayfield was liable to be open and so it turned out. The visitor enters in through a door to the west of the tower; moving inside there was a beautiful light quality inside, which I was pleasantly surprised about given that there is no clerestory here and plenty of stained glass.

The Victorian north arcade is of three bays, with circular piers and capitals. The fixtures and fittings are almost entirely from the time of rebuilding, with pews, pulpit, choirstalls and oak reredos at the east end of the chancel all dating from this time. Only the font is ancient. A red carpet runs the length of the nave, all the way up to the altar.

The pointed chancel arch rests on semi-circular responds and carved late 12th century imposts. The impost to the south is carved with a scallop design, with the north being fluted. The chancel is wholly Victorian and there is no sedilia or piscina against the south wall; these I daresay being lost during the rebuilding. A doorway against the north wall leads to the vestry.

The altar had a green altar cloth, the liturgical colour for the ‘ordinary times’ between the end of Christmas and Lent.


There is a fair amount of interesting stained glass here, but nothing pre dating the time that the nave and chancel were rebuilt in the 1870’s. The east window is of three lights and depicts the nativity, the crucifixion and an angel of the Lord appearing to the three Mary’s on Easter morning; the angel pointing upwards ‘He is not here, he has risen’. Up in the tracery of this window is Christ in majesty, holding a globe with hand raised in blessing; attending a little further down by two angels.

A note at the foot of the east window shows that the windows in the chancel were given in memory of John William Eagleton, who was rector of Swayfield for 16 years, and who died in 1872, A little internet research showed that in the census of 1861, John was listed as being 35 years old and unmarried, living with his sister Mary Ann who was 29 years old and a 21 year old servant Martha Fryer. At the time of his death in 1872, Mary Ann was listed as a spinster.

Other glass shows Jesus as the Good Shepherd, and Jesus taking communion with the two he met on the Road to Emmaus, their eyes being opened as to who he was as he broke the bread.


Another two light window depicts Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene on Easter morning. She reaches out for him, again after a period of not realising who he was. Set alongside is Jesus reinstating Peter, after he had denied knowing Jesus three times on the night of his arrest. ‘Feed my sheep’ tells him; with two sheep alongside the kneeling, praying Peter in reference to this.

A further two light window shows Jesus washing Peter’s feet. Peter, with head in hand, doesn’t look massively happy about the whole thing. Three disciples behind, one of which is John, are all at prayer, with none of them looking at what was going on; a challenging scene for them as their Lord became a servant!

At the side of this is Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, accepting the cup that he has to drink from while the disciples sleep in the foreground.

One further two light window has two scenes of Jesus before his adult ministry started. In the first panel Jesus is teaching at the temple as a 12 year old, in front of an audience of confused temple leaders. Mary and Joseph have arrived and stand at the back. Mary is shown at prayer with nimbus (halo), Joseph is shown with no nimbus.

It is interesting to think though that in Jesus’ day a male child was considered a man at the age of 12 years. Despite his young age, Jesus was therefore preaching in the Temple as an adult!  Shown at the side is Jesus working as a carpenter with his father as a young man.

As briefly mentioned earlier, the font is the only part of the fixtures and fittings of any great age, with the circular bowl with octagonal stem and base dating back to the 12th century; possibly being original to the building of the church here.


Moving back outside I took a look around the church grounds. There is a real sense of peace here, with no traffic noise at all; just a little birdsong. There is nothing of any great importance or rarity in the church grounds here, with nothing having its own listing. However, there are a few finely carved gravestones dating back to Georgian times, with an angel in flight in front of a cloud, blowing a trumpet whilst holding a palm leaf. The trumpet was an often used symbol of the resurrection and the palm leaf is a symbol of victory. Read together, the deceased has won a victory, with the victory here being over death; being resurrected on the final day. This can be seen as a testament as to the faith of the deceased.

It was time to hit the road again as we continued with what was an ambitious schedule given that daylight hours were limited at this time of the year. The church of St Nicholas at Swayfield, was open, welcoming, peaceful and is well worth a look if you are in this very attractive part of South Kesteven.

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