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Church Post Code PE10 0SR 

Opened by arrangement


It was a crisp February morning in 2023, with the church of St Andrew, Rippingale being the first church of the day visited in what turned out to be a 13 church crawl which started in Lincolnshire; crossing the border in to Rutland during the afternoon.

The frost was thick on the ground as we arrived, with the temperature having dipped to minus five the previous night. The church here was due to be closed to visitors but had been left open for me by prior arrangement, which I really appreciated. I did feel a certain amount of guilt though in the keyholder coming out on so cold a morning!

In the past, the church here had been open to visitors from Easter until the autumn, but I am not sure if that is still the case now.

This was a revisit for me, with my previous visit here coming back in 2016, when I briefly popped in on a blustery Sunday morning as I cycled from my digs close to Morton to a Communion Service at Scott Willoughby; one of the smallest churches in Lincolnshire. I was very tight for time that morning, with more than half an eye on the distance that I had to cycle in to a strong headwind, with just five minutes spent at Rippingale that morning. It took a mere seven years to revisit; no point in rushing.


Rippingale is a village in South Kesteven, Lincolnshire which had a population of 929 at the time of the 2011 census. It can be found just off the A15, some five miles north of Bourne. This is as far north as my sites cover; being some 22 miles north of Peterborough using the A15.

Interestingly, Rippingale is suggested as being the inspiration behind BBC Radios the Archers. Those in Inkberrow in Worcestershire disagree , saying that the radio series was inspired by their village.

The church of St Andrew, sits centrally in the village, alongside the main road, set in picturesque grounds with evergreen Cedar trees dominating. It sits on slightly raised ground, with the top of the churchyard wall being at ground level, giving an uninterrupted view across the church grounds. The trees are beautiful but, as with nearby Edenham, it does make it a little difficult to photograph the exterior from certain directions.

There was a church and priest mentioned here at the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086, but nothing of that previous structure remains. The church that we see today was begun in the mid-13th century and consists of west tower, nave, south aisle, clerestories, south porch and chancel.

The square, battlemented tower dates from the mid-15th century; crocked pinnacles rising up from all four corners. Gargoyles can be seen on the south and west sides. There is a beast with mouth pulled open in medieval gesture of insult on the west and south sides, and a bearded human figure to the south supports a more modern water spout on his shoulder head titled and looking upwards towards Heaven.


There is a modern sundial to the east of the porch, this dating from 2001, with the previous one now spending its retirement in the church, under the tower. Looking at the exterior from the south, I hadn’t realised that there were clerestory windows here until I went inside!

The view of the church from the west is impressive, with substantial nave and south aisle; the latter dates from around 1300 and ended in a chapel dedicated to St Anne.

The wide south porch dates to the 14th century, with stone benches inside. On one of these is graffiti in the form of the traced outline of a Hobnail boot. There are several hexfoil designs; ritual protection marks, in the frame of the inner door.

When Thomas North compiled his study of the church bells In Lincolnshire, which was published in 1882, there were five bells in the ring here, with all five cast by William Dobson, a Downham Market founder; in 1830, towards the end of his 32 years career.

This replaced a previous ring of three, with a £200 legacy from local man Richard Casswell financing this ring of three to be recast in to a ring of five.  Of the three bells prior to 1830, the first had the name Samuel Orr inscribed on it. The second was dated 1620, along with the name Thomas Bacon and the third was cast at the Stamford bellfoundry, being inscribed ‘Thomas Norris made me 1672’

Of the ring of five cast by Dobson, two were blank, two had the basic information of date and founder’s name and one was inscribed ‘Long Live William the Fourth’.

In his usual thorough style North mentioned notes in the church wardens account books which stated that it cost £51 10 shillings for work on the bell frames in December 1831, with a further cost of £50 for the bells to be hung. These days, there is a ring of six bells here with one further being added by Taylor of Loughborough in 1935.


Moving inside, the internal set up is interesting.  The nave and south aisle are separated by a six bay arcade, which dates from around 1300, with the piers being quatrefoil with moulded capitals. The bays extend as far as the east wall with the church organ occupying the most eastern bay. There is no chancel arch here. A series of stone monuments face the east window of the south chapel. I will cover those later. Standing at the east and looking west, the previous outline of the roof from the pre clerestory days is visible on the west wall.

The tower arch is tall and slender, with pointed arch, with Victorian patterned glass in the west window.

The east window of the chancel is of three lights, and dates from 1920 with a stained glass depiction of Jesus as the God Shepherd at the centre. A small panel below shows the reinstatement of Peter after he betrayed Jesus three times on the night of Jesus’ arrest.

To the left as we look at it we see St Andrew with saltire cross, on which he would later be martyred. To the right we have St Anne teaching Mary the mother of Jesus to read.

A 19th century piscina is set in to the east wall, to the right of the altar, which is plain and simple, with green altar cloth indicating that we were in ‘ordinary time’, one of the periods between the major festivals, in this case the period between Christmas and Lent.


The east window of the south chapel is of four lights; containing stained glass of vibrant colours. There are eight main panels, with a mix of Old and New Testament. Starting with the former, Joseph is lowered in to the well by his brothers, with a powerful depiction of Elijah being taken up to Heaven by a chariot of fire, Elisha watching on.

Close by we have Job seated under a palm tree and Abraham stopped from sacrificing his son Isaac; an angel of the Lord preventing this and pointing out the sacrificial ram that had been provided.

The New Testament has the resurrection and the ascension put together, with close by illustration of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and the crucifixion. The former shows Jesus at prayer on the night of his arrest; at prayer with an angel presenting the cup from which he is to drink. The disciples sleep in the foreground.

The latter shows Christ crucified, with Mary the Mother of Jesus and John in their traditional positions. The sky consists of dark blue and blood red bands.

Up in the tracery of this window, the Risen Christ is throned in glory, hand raised in blessing, with wounds visible; attended by angels. Lower down, two trefoil panels show angels with censers worshiping their King.


As mentioned earlier, memorials face the east window. A 13th century recumbent effigy of a deacon holds open a book which rests on his chest; the inscription in the book is said to read ‘Here lies Hugh Geboed. Pray for his soul’. This monument has been defaced, literally with the facial features erased.

Close by is a 12th century effigy of a knight in armour, sword at side, with hands raised in prayer and one foot resting on a lion. The knight is crossed legged and some suggest that this denotes that this was a crusader who died in the Christian faith.

The largest monument is badly mutilated and is to Sir Roger De Quincey, who is depicted with his two wives. The three lay on a fabulously crafted altar tomb; with the figure of Sir Roger in particular being badly mutilated, having lost his legs. Mutilated angels tend their pillows with mutilated dogs at their feet.

In a recess in the south wall, under an elaborate ogee canopy, is a 14th – century memorial to Margaret Goband. She rests with head on pillow and hands raised in prayer. The Gobands/Geboeds’ were the Lords of the Manor in Rippingale during the medieval period.


The church grounds here are large, well maintained, with some interesting slate gravestones. Close to the path which leads to the church from the east is a stone to one Ann Shield who died in 1735. The symbolism at the foot of the stone is interesting; the human skull bottom left with the gravedigger’s tools of pick and shovel, crossed with two human bones bottom right. All of these are symbols of the mortality of Man and reminds the onlooker as to the fragility of life and the inevitability of death.

Script at the bottom reads ‘O crewill death that would not spare/a loving wife, a tender mother dear/Great is the loss to those that’s left behind/No doubt but eternal joy will find’.

One further slate stone has a finely carved angel holding a trumpet and a crown. The trumpet was a often used symbol of the resurrection with the crown symbolising victory. Both taken together can also be a statement as to the faith of the deceased.

Close by, there is an intricately carved cross and anchor; each symbols of the Christian faith. These are connected with a banner on which is carved ‘In hope of salvation thro’ Christ our redeemer’.


This is a beautiful, historic church with much of interest. It was time to hit the road again; revisiting several Lincolnshire churches in the area, including Burton Le Coggles, which I gained access to for the first time after six previous failed attempts spread over a period of 16 years!. The frost was lifting, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it was two days away from work and all was good with the world. We headed westwards towards Corby Glen!

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