Probably the least-appreciated of all the English counties, Lincolnshire is full of empty spaces, and the hamlet of Gautby is in one of those, beyond Bardney. Here in the mid-18th century the Vyners, a prominent City family, were building their extensive new mansion; but that was demolished little more than a century later in 1874, and the Park today is deserted and still. Contemporary with the mansion, Robert Vyner rebuilt the parish church in 1756 as one of those Lincolnshire ‘brick boxes’ (ND June 2010) though this one has a small tower with a tiny spike of a spire. Vyner brought the tombs of two members of his family from St Mary Woolnoth in the city of London, and they occupy the chancel, above the Vyner vault, the figures gazing at the altar. Look for the ledger slab commemorating Frederick Grantham Vyner, ‘murdered by brigands in the Kingdom of Greece’ in the ‘Dilessi Massacre’ of April 1870.

But that is possibly not why you remember Gautby. Some little village churches obtained their ethos as the result of a campaign by one architect (think Egmanton or Lound) whilst others got it through the efforts of a number of patrons or clergy. Gautby’s interior was rearranged on the eve of the First World War, and the Georgian two-decker (originally at Skelton in Yorkshire) was moved from half-way down the nave to its present position in the northeast corner. Over the next half century the interior acquired a number of furnishings – small statues and a rood group – which give this tiny, unassuming, church a certain cachet


Map reference: TF 175724

Simon Cotton