Catholic Sites in Lincolnshire




Two sites to visit:

If you wish to spend time at prayer during your visit then St. Mary's Louth is the towns post-reformation Catholic church which has recently been renovated by Gillick Brothers. It includes seven new stain glass windows depicting St. Eustace White (son of Louth, Catholic priest, and one of the 40 Martyrs of England & Wales) and a new depiction of Our Lady of Walsingham. This church is not open on Tuesdays.

The original Catholic St James' Church (now Anglican) is where the Lincolnshire Rising was instigated by the Catholic Priest Thomas Kendall. His Homily at vespers on 1st October 1536 lead to the Lincolnshire Rising the following day. 

This is now known as Lincolnshire Day.

The reredos at St. James' Church, Louth.

St. James Church, Louth


The new stained glass window and depiction of St. Eustace White. A son of Louth and one of the 40 Martyrs of England & Wales.





Hainton Hall is a manor that has been in the possession of a single family for much of its recorded the history.  The church of St Mary, now Anglican, stands in the grounds of Hainton Hall.  The chancel and north chapel contain an unparalleled and virtually unbroken sequence of pre-reformation family monuments dating from the early fourteen hundreds. In the grounds also stands the more recent Catholic Church of St. Francis de Sales. 

The earliest Heneage monument are the brasses to John Heneage (died 1435) and his wife Alice on the chapel floor.  John, who is portrayed in civilian dress, was a yeoman and it was he that managed to acquire a share of the manor of Hainton that established the family in Hainton. The family remained recusants, resolutely devoted to the Catholic Faith during the Tudor and Elizabethan period (it is believed until around 1820).

The impressive later sixteenth century monuments at the west end of the chapel, to John Heneage (died 1559) and his sons William died (1610) and George (died 1595) are evidence of this new found wealth. William's monument, showing him and his wives kneeling at prayer has two panels on the top showing the Fall, with Adam and Eve standing next to the Tree of Knowledge and the resurrection of Christ. 

George Heneage is commemorated by a particularly lavish monument, a freestanding tomb chest with a painted alabaster effigy showing him in full armour lying on a rolled-up mat. 

The east end of the chapel has later monuments.  One is a tablet by William Stanton commemorating grandfather, son and grandson, all called George. It is topped by a flaming urn and incorporates garlands and skulls and crossbones.  

Next to it is the wall monument to great grandson also called George Heneage (died 1731) by Bertucinni.  His bust, set under a canopy with swags and his wives (both of good recusant families) are commemorated by busts flanking his and separate tablets.   

With such an impressive array of monuments you almost forget about the church itself.  The bottom of the tower is early Norman, but the rest of church is essentially by E J Willson who made all things new sometime between 1847 and 1848.  Willson, who is buried in the churchyard, was a close friend of A W Pugin and the building is Puginian in its archaeological correctness.  

The main body of the church is kept open, but the Heneage chapel is locked. There is plenty of roadside parking. Original post by Rev Allen Barton (Norfolk) on his Lincolnshire Churches blog (here).




On the western side of the castle at Lincoln, away from the Cathedral and city centre is the old execution site. The only evidence that it was here is the pub which is called "The Strugglers Arms" (photo below). The place of execution itself was probably where the Phone Box is. In the past, his site would have commanded a tremendous view looking out west to the countryside below. On 1st July 1600 two priests were here hung, drawn and quartered for their priesthood. Frs Thomas Hunt and Thomas Sprott; both were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987.

Fr Thomas Hunt had previously been captured and imprisoned in Wisbech Castle; Fr Thomas Sprott had also been captured and imprisoned in the Bridewell, London. Both priests had escaped and were brought together by the then Jesuit Superior, Fr Henry garnet and sent north as missionary companions. While staying in the Saracens Head pub in Lincoln they were arrested and condemned. At the scaffold they were prevented, by the authorities, from addressing the crowd, who then insisted that both priests should hang till dead before they were butchered.

Their witness remains unmarked at this former gallows site, and it would be very fitting for a public memorial to be placed near this place. It is not every town that has a beatified blesseds; and Lincoln has two!

This post was originally by Fr. Richard Aladics writer of the excellent Catholic blog Friends with Christ....



in Lincoln Cathedral

St. Hugh was the first Carthusian Saint.

St Hugh of Lincoln was chosen to be Prior of the first Carthusian monastery in England – founded by Henry II at Witham, Somerset, in reparation for the murder of St Thomas Becket. He soon became a respected spiritual master, consulted by the King (who was often in the area hunting) and many nobles, and it is little surprising that in 1186 he was appointed bishop of Lincoln. St Hugh reluctantly accepted out of obedience, though he often returned to his Charterhouse for periods of reflection.

At Lincoln St Hugh was largely responsible for the rebuilding of the Cathedral and for the renewal of his diocese, which was the largest in England and round which he tirelessly travelled as shepherd. Indeed, unlike so many other bishops, he was rarely away from his diocese and had a great love for children and the sick, often being seen caring for lepers. He was fearlessly concerned with justice – he defended the rights of the Church and even stopped mobs from attacking the Jews in Lincoln, Stamford and Northampton. Despite his frequent conflicts with three successive Kings, they admired and trusted him; Richard the Lion Heart even observed that 

‘if all the prelates of the Church were like him, there is not a king in Christendom who would dare to raise his head in the presence of a bishop.’

St Hugh died on 16 November 1200 at his London residence in Holborn. King John himself helped carry the coffin to its resting place in Lincoln Cathedral and, twenty years later, Bishop Hugh became the first Carthusian saint.




Our Lady & St. Joseph is the oldest surviving church in use inLincolnshire, as well as the Diocese of Nottingham. It was built immediately after post-penal times, in fact it was built only two years after the passing of the Second Catholic Relief Act of 1791. It was still very much inconspicuous as is shown by its off road location, and the fact that it is set in the upper floor of the building. 

Mindful of local hostility, its external design is low-key. It is a T-shaped building with priest’s house to the south and a first floor chapel over the kitchen in the north range. It could easily be mistaken for a Georgian farmhouse.  

The two stained glass windows on the west wall depict the Crucifixion and St Helena, discoverer of the True Cross. At the south end, in the original sanctuary, there is a 19th century triptych copy of Rubens’ Descent from the Cross. Below this is a painting of the Last Supper, said to be by Luca Giordano, and possibly from the 1780s chapel at Market Rasen. There is also a statue of St Joseph, presented by John Young in 1864. Between the two stained glass windows, covered by a curtain, is an Italian chalice veil said to be of 17th century date. At the southern end, and no longer in use, is a timber altar, the original one of 1793. 
It is of solid mahogany.

For more detailed information go to this local site (here).



In Lincolnshire just south of Grantham is the village of Irnham. Irnham Hall was the home of the Thimelbys. They were recusants and built the present Hall in 1510. The family remained at Irnham until 1854 when the Hall was sold. There were possibly a number of priest holes in the Hall but the north wing was gutted by fire in 1887. However, one hide still remains in the south wing, the oldest part of the house. It is probably the work of Nicholas Owen. The hide is on the first floor and was entered from the attics. It is a space 8ft by 5ft by 5ft 6in and used to have both a ventilation and a feeding hole.

The house is privately owned as a country hotel which is set in the most lovely countryside. More pictures can be seen here.

This post was originally by Fr. Richard Aladics writer of the excellent Catholic blog Friends with Christ....



The photo above shows the site (the green field bordered by trees) of the Carthusian Monastery of Axeholme (Low Melwood Priory), near Epworth in Lincolnshire. It was here that Augustine Webster was Prior. Nothing, apart from stretches of the original moat, now remains of this Charterhouse and the site is now farm land. Catholic groups are known to visit this site to this day.

This post was originally by Fr. Richard Aladics writer of the excellent Catholic blog Friends with Christ....



The more militant end of the Lincolnshire Rising was to be found in Horncastle. These scythes above the right hand arch of the church have been attributed to 
the Rising.



(Originally part of the Six Hill's Monastery)

It’s called the Nunnery and is a Grade II listed building: 

The house still displays architectural evidence of almost every stage of its development, from its time as a mediaeval open hall and may, from its name, have links with the site of the Gilbertine Priory of St Mary, just down the hill on the road. This religious community housed order members of both sexes and was founded in the time of King Stephen - about 1150 - and made quite a decent living from its landed interests stretching for miles around, apparently, as well as a tidy profit from the wool trade.

The post was originally from this blog....

The Six Hill's Treasures including a Medieval chasuble and chalice among other items were found at the Six Hill's Monastery which is the main parent site to this building.


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