Laughton looks to be a typical North Lincolnshire village. The church looks typical as well – west tower, clerestoried and aisled nave, and chancel – at least until you cross the threshold. You realise that its medieval rebuilding was gradual, as the C13th south arcade is balanced by a rather fine late C12th one on the north side. Then you spot a striking screen and rood; looking up at the elaborately painted roofs, it becomes clear that this was no ordinary Victorian restoration.

The person behind it was no ordinary patron, either. Sister of the 2nd Viscount Halifax, Emily Charlotte Wood married the rich Hugo Francis Meynell-Ingram, whose property included Laughton, Hoar Cross (Staffs), and Temple Newsam (Yorks). Following his early death, she called on Bodley and Garner to build Hoar Cross church in his memory. It is a stunning Anglo-Catholic shrine (ND June 2007), for she shared her brother’s religion. Nearly 20 years on from Hoar Cross, she asked Bodley and Garner, again, to restore the nave of Laughton and to provide a new chancel. In the north aisle she placed a white marble effigy of her husband, a copy of the one at Hoar Cross. The high and spacious chancel was furnished in impeccable taste, with a stately triptych reredos, and the glazing was completed after its benefactress’s death by Burlison and Grylls, the glaziers of Hoar Cross.

Laughton church is one of the unheralded wonders of Lincolnshire. A‘ very special church, not to be missed’, wrote Henry Thorold, who knew and cared about such things.

Map reference SK849973
Simon Cotton