Langton by Spilsby
The parish is known as Langton with
Sutterby and there are churches in both parishes.
The 12th century church
of St John the Baptist in the hamlet of Sutterby
is no longer in use and is looked after by the Friends
of Friendless Churches. Wall paintings have
recently been discovered and restoration work was
scheduled for completion in 2012. Langton with
Sutterby is now a member of the Partney Group of
parishes, which comprises nine parishes within the
Deanery of Bolingbroke. Partney Choir sings
at Langton Church.
The present church,
which replaced a church also dedicated to St Peter and
In the past few
years a very extensive fundraising campaign has enabled
much conservation and restoration work to be done in the
church and the PCC is extremely grateful to the donors
(all of whose names appear below) who have made this
The head of a
small stone cross, which may be of Saxon origin, but
which Pevsner dated as early 13th century, was found by
the rector of Langton in a nearby wood at the end of the
19th century and is now fixed to a wall in the porch.
Following tests on the paintwork in 2005 the church was redecorated in its original Georgian colours during 2006.
It appears that there were bells in the church at Langton from at least 1552. North's 'Church Bells of Lincolnshire' (published by Samuel Clarke in 1862) says that an inventory of 1552 states "Item iii bells and one little belle"
Fecit 1825 We were given by John Stephen Langton Esq. Lord of this Free Warren
Fecit 1825 Are you prepared for me to call you here
The third reads
John Stephen Langton died aged only 37
in 1833 and had he lived longer he would have had a
further two bells added to the tower. After his
death the Rector wrote that he had given the church "a ring
of the sweetest bells in
From 1956 till 2008 it was not possible to ring the bells full circle because of the poor condition of the oak bell frame, which was originally made by a local craftsman from nearby Hagworthingam, so the Bailey mechanism was used to chime the bells for services.
The Bailey mechanism
The bells awaiting transport to Whitechapel Bell Foundry
Following a successful appeal for funds a project started in December 2007 to re-hang the bells in the original repaired wooden frame (i.e. not a new steel frame) so that they could again be rung full circle. Whitechapel Bell Foundry (the successor to Thomas Mears) completed the work in May 2008 and the Bishop of Lincoln attended a re-dedication service on Sunday 31 August 2008. Major donors included Heritage Lottery Fund, Lincoln Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers, Kochan Trust, Allchurches Trust, John Warren Foundation, The Sharpe Trustees and Stanley Darman. The bells are now rung regularly and it is particularly satisfactory that this project has introduced several newcomers of widely differing ages to the art of bell ringing. Bands who would like to ring should please contact the Webmaster or telephone 01790 753649.
As part of this restoration project and in order to protect the bell mechanism from inappropriate interference a pair of very fine oak doors were made for the archway at bottom of the West Gallery staircase by Peter Millburn of South Ormsby.
The chamber organ,
which has a particularly sweet tone, was built by Henry
A fundraising campaign for the restoration of the organ took place in 2009. Thanks to the funding from Batty Charitable Trust, Idlewild Trust, Council for Care of Churches, Manifold Trust, Mercers' Charitable Foundation, ON Organ Fund and Lincolnshire Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, Goetze and Gwynn Ltd of Welbeck, near Worksop were able to complete the restoration in May 2010. Since then it has been used for normal church services. The following notes on the work are quoted from Goetze and Gwynn's own website
In September 2010 the organ was the centre piece for the first of the summer chamber music concerts which now take place twice a year in the warmer - and lighter - summer months to take advantage of the building's excellent acoustics. The soloists were Oliver Hancock (former organ scholar at Jesus College Oxford) and Edward Bennett (director of Goetze and Gwynn), who played the organ, and Clare Douglas (soprano and former choral scholar at Caius College Cambridge) who sang. Since then artists have included Stephanie Oade, Andrew Booth, Harriet and Caroline Adie, the Bochmann Trio and others.
Following the success of the first concerts it has been decided to hold two per year - in mid to late May and early September. The fourth season takes place in 2013.
The wood panelled interior
The whole of the east end of the interior of has fine oak panelling and similar panelling was also used to make the box pews, which face each other in a manner reminiscent of some Oxbridge colleges. Over many years the sun, which is particularly harsh in the summer as the large south facing windows are of plain glass, had significantly bleached and damaged the panelling. As a result of generous donations by Allchurches Trust, Henry Moss-Blundell, John Warren Foundation and Leche Trust all the panelling and woodwork was cleaned and polished in summer 2010. During the work it was discovered that the doors which had originally closed off the space in front of the altar from the body of the church had been pointlessly relocated near the organ. The opportunity was taken to replace the doors in their original position - a project that was generously funded by Marshall's Charity.
The upper door of the three decker pulpit was discovered recently, having been made into a prie-dieu many years ago and was restored in 2012, thanks to a donation from the Georgian Group.
All the work on the wood panelling, the pulpit and the new door to the West Gallery was done or supervised by local joiner Peter Millburn of South Ormsby- thus continuing the original tradition of the church using local craftsmen wherever possible.
The floor in the western end of the church contains memorials to memorial stones dated 1533 for John Langton and 1625 for Roger Langton. The four hatchments are (clockwise from the door) for Bennet Langton (1737-1801) who married Mary Dowager Countess of Rothes and was Dr Johnson’s friend; Bennet Langton (1696-1769), who married Diana Turnor, daughter of Edmund Turnor of Stoke Rochford in 1736; Robert Uvedale (1642-1722) the horticulturist who married Mary Stephens of Charrington, Gloucestershire, whose grandson (Rev Robert Uvedale) was rector of Langton and married Diana Langton (1742-1809); and John Langton (1908-1989) who married Angela Warren (1912-2004) of Skendleby in 1940. John Langton's hatchment is pictured here. Diana Douglas (John Langton’s eldest daughter) is the present Patron of the Living of Langton.
There is a marble bust behind the main inner door. This is of Rev Charles Langton (1803 - 1886) and is by the German scuptor Fritz Gerth (1845 - 1928) whose studio was for some time in Rome. The bust was exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1888 together with the bust of his brother-in-law Charles Dawkins. In 1832 Rev Charles Langton married Charlotte, the third daughter of Josiah Wedgwood, the master potter. Charlotte died in 1862 and Charles married Emily, the sister of Charles Darwin, the naturalist, the following year. She died four years later and in 1883 Charles married Emily Dawkins of Over Norton in Oxfordshire (see above). Charles died in Frankfurt in 1886 and was buried in Bournemouth. His widow placed a brass memorial tablet to him on the south wall of the church near the pulpit. His bust seems to have returned to the Langton family and been placed in the church sometime after this.
We have recently discovered a
record of monumental inscriptions in the church and
churchyard for the period 1758 - 1982, prepared by the Society for
Lincolnshire History and Archaeology in May
1984. The list can be found here.
For more information contact the Webmaster.
Other interesting facts
photograph in the porch shows Ann Fletcher (1830 -
1909), who lived fifty years in the Round House
(formerly the post office) at Langton and traditionally
carried parish babies to the font for baptism. The
photograph shows her carrying her 100th baby to be
christened. Ann Fletcher's will had a probate
value of £87 13s 10d.
church silver (none of which,
unfortunately, is any longer
kept on the premises) includes
two chalices and patten covers
by John Fawdry (1719) and John
Churchwardens and services
The present churchwardens are Mrs Frances Carr (01790 753561) and Mrs Diana Douglas (01790 753649)
There is a monthly service in the church, alternating between Holy Communion and Family Service. The service normally takes place on the fourth Sunday of the month. One of the monthly services is combined with Harvest Festival and in most years (unless the main Partney Group Christmas Day service takes place at Langton) there is a candlelit carol service on the Sunday after Christmas.
Langton summer concerts
As mentioned above two summer chamber music concerts are held by candlelight annually in May and September: the evenings conclude with drinks and canapés served in the church. Details of the next concerts are shown on the Activities page.
Comments on this website are welcome. All enquiries to: Webmaster