The marshland of southeast Lincolnshire stretches for mile after mile, punctuated by small settlements and the occasional town. And churches. Henry Thorold once described the route from Sleaford towards Kings Lynn as a via mirabilis, a wonderful tour for a church-crawler. Quadring was not one of his nominated churches, but could just as well have been. It sits some way outside its village down a side turning, with just the Primary School for company.

There’s a fine Perp tower with spire; like others in the area, it has a noticeable lean, but not in the same league as Surfleet. In the early 15th c. the parishioners completely reconstructed the nave and aisles, just retaining the Dec. façade of the S side. This build has quite a sophisticated design, note the piers that support the clerestory and roof, and a striking rood stair at the SE corner, entered through an unusual and elegant turret. The sentry box in the aisle is a graveside shelter (a ‘hudd’) to protect the parson at the graveside in wet weather.

An early 17th c. antiquary noted an inscription in the clerestory glazing that several members of the Derby family had eight windows made. The Derbys originated in the Boston area; one of their number, William, became vicar of the prestigious Norfolk parish of Terrington S Clement (ND Dec 2016). In his will of 1438 he left money towards making this clerestory, and then, right at the will’s end, he orders that the residue of his possessions be spent on ‘the body of the church to be made anew at Quadring …… on behalf of the souls of my father and mother, of my brothers and sisters and of all those to whom we are bound (to pray)’.

Reflect: Mediaeval Christians were very conscious of their obligations to their fellow Christians, their families among them – including prayer. Are we?

Map reference: TF 224341

Simon Cotton