South Somercotes St Peter
Known as the ‘Queen of the Marsh’, St Peter’s church has presided over its lush environs since the Middle Ages when, it is rumoured, it was built as a beacon for sailors. Inside, the church is light-filled and bright due to the lack of stained glass, sadly lost when South Somercotes was bombed during World War II. Other original features remain however, including an exceptional fifteenth-century font with its intricately carved wooden cover. Around its basin you can see heraldic devices bearing the emblems of the Talents – the instruments of Christ’s suffering leading up to and during the Crucifixion: flails, the crown of thorns, Cross, four nails, spear, the sponge, the coat and dice and two lances. The faces carved beneath each of these gruesome symbols of the Crucifixion are enigmatic, each with a unique expression that seems curiously at odds with the subject of the font. The theme of Christ’s suffering is continued in the carving of the Victorian pulpit, which also bears emblems of the Talents. Above, the ceiling is barrel-vaulted timber with carved angels bearing instruments: it is supported by thirteenth-century arcades bearing delightful carved faces. The most famous part of St Peter’s fabric is perhaps its three medieval bells with their endearing inscriptions and elaborate filigree craftsmanship, for example the tenor bell reads: ‘I am of sweet sound; I am called the bell of Gabriel. AD 1423’. In amongst the letters are fabled beasts, saints and flowers.