Harpswell, Lincolnshire


St Chad's serves the tiny hamlet of Harpswell with a population of 65.  The first thing you see is the Saxo-Norman west tower and then the fine Decorated tracery of the south aisle.   Inside there is a late Norman south arcade extended in the early fourteenth century and a rather dark and dreary chancel of 1891.  In truth the whole interior feels a bit dreary, for it is dirty and neglected. 

Harpswell, Lincolnshire

It is the monuments that really matter at Harpswell.  In the south aisle are two notable medieval monuments to rectors of Harpswell.  The most prominent is an effigy of William de Harrington set back in a niche in the south wall  He is dressed in cassock and hood with a pileus or skull cap on his head.  His feet are supported on a bracket decorated with a green man and his head on a pillow supported on two angels.  He died around 1350.  To the west is a rather battered incised slab to one of his predecessors, John de Gere who died around 1300. He is shown dressed in full Eucharistic vestments.  Under the Harmonium is a further slab to a rector a late fourteenth century slab to Richard de Beauchamp.

Harpswell, Lincolnshire 2

There are other monuments too.  On the north wall of the chancel is a fine fifteenth century brass of a man in armour and his wife in butterfly headress. They are believed to be John Whichcot and his wife Elizabeth Tyrwhit.  She was an heiress and her marriage to John, a Shropshire gentleman, brought the manor of Harpswell into the Whichcot family.  The manor remained in their hands until the nineteenth century and opposite the brass is a marble tablet to their descendant Thomas Whichcot, who died in 1776.

Harpswell, Lincolnshire

Harpswell, Lincolnshire

Thomas Whichcot was evidently an ardent supporter of the Protestant settlement.  There is a prominent royal arms of Queen Anne, one of the finest sets of royal arms in the county.  On the face of the tower is an inscription recording that he paid for a clock to commemorate the Duke of Cumberland's defeat of the 'rebels' i.e. Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Stuart pretender to the throne, at the battle of Culloden in 1745.

Harpswell, Lincolnshire 5
Medieval benchends (one decorated with the five wounds), fragments of medieval glass and a Norman arcaded font also contribute to a building of great interest.     
Access: The church is kept open during the day and there is ample parking by the roadside.

If you want to see some more photos of Harpswell have look in my Flickr set

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