St Lawrence's Church, Snarford, Lincolnshire

Address: Snarford, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, LN8 3SL
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Fantastic carved figures from Tudor times

Nothing about the rather unremarkable exterior of this small Medieval church prepares you for the breathtaking surprise of the interior of this wonderful church.

St Lawrence has some of the most spectacular memorial sculptures in Lincolnshire. The largest, from the 1580s, features life-size figures of Sir Thomas St Paul and his wife, members of a dynasty of rich lawyer-politicians.

Sir Thomas reclines dressed in armour with a gold chain round his neck; his wife lies beside him elegantly dressed with a ruff and headdress. Round the canopy above kneel their eight children.

Gazing on from the wall, propped on one elbow, is his rakish relation Sir George with his wife Frances, both fashionably dressed. Poignantly, in a little alcove below, is the tiny effigy of their only child, Mattathia, who died as a baby.

All the figures are eerily life-like – look closely at the veins on Sir George’s hands and Warwick’s piercing blue eyes and ample, aristocratic cheeks. 

The alabaster monument to Sir George St Paul who died some 30 years later dominates the north chapel.

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How to find us

To locate this church on a map, click on the 'View on map' link that appears below the address information at the top of the page.

Road directions

Travel north on A46 from Lincoln to Grimsby; after 9 miles Snarford is signposted on the left; the church is 0.5 miles down the road on the right

Public transport information

Nearest railway station: Market Rasen (5.4 miles)

OS Reference No.

TF 051 825

What’s on & news

News

06/01/14 We would like to warn all our volunteers and visitors to take care when visiting our churches due to the…

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Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

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Image gallery

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Images from Flickr

The CCT is grateful to the Flickr group, Friends of the Churches Conservation Trust, for the images shown here. CCT is not responsible for the quality or content of images taken from Flickr.


Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Useful information

Why not make your visit more enjoyable and informed by finding out more about this church and the CCT before you visit?

You can download a range of publications below including the relevant county guide, and any walkround guides we have for this church.

 

 

 

PDF iconLincolnshire County Guide (PDF, 4.4mb)

This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches CCT cares for in Lincolnshire. Printed copies of the county guides are also available at the church.

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Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

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Comments

  1. Liz Rhodes (22 Mar 2012, 14:38)

    I was christened and married in the church, and always went inside regularly. Having lived at Snarford for 20 years, born and bred there, it was always a very popular church, where people from all over the world came to see.

  2. Eleanor (02 Jan 2013, 14:26)

    We spend a day visiting some of the churches in rural Lincolnshire as husband was wanting to experiment taking pictures using his new camera. We found a mention of this church in England’s Thousand Best Churches by Simon Jenkins. We read his description of the glorious family monuments and added it to the list. It didn't disappoint.


    It is in the depths of the Lincolnshire countryside on a narrow unclassified lane to the north off the A46 to the north east of Lincoln, between Dunholme and Faldingworth. We had wondered if we would arrive to find it locked, so breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the large board outside saying "Church Open".


    It is tucked away among the trees with a few scattered farms around. There had been a Viking settlement here and a village is mentioned in the Domesday book, with 16 families. In medieval times there had been a thriving village which was probably almost deserted by Tudor times. The St Paul Family were large land owners who settled in the area and built a grand mansion here in 1500, replaced by a bigger and better one in 1606. An information board outside the church shows how extensive their estate was.


    The church is a small building with a low square tower at the west end. The Gothic windows in the nave have carved heads at the base of the arches. It was probably begun in the 12thC. The nave is 13thC. The chancel was enlarged in 1600 to house the grand family tombs.


    The nave is plain with simple pews and a small piano. At the back of the church, under the tower is a hexagonal stone font with carvings of shields, heads and foliage on the sides.

    Pass through quickly and head past the altar to the magnificent six poster alabaster bed tomb with the recumbent bodies of Sir Thomas St Paul who died in 1582 and his wife Faith Grantham. Sir Paul’s head rests on a helmet with an elephant and castle which was the family crest. Other engravings of this can be seen around the tomb. Round the top of the canopy are the kneeling figures of six of their children with the bust of their heir, Sir George, on the top of an altar in the centre.


    Sir Thomas was an MP and served as Sheriff of Lincolnshire. Through his marriage he had connections to many of the most powerful families in the county and the tomb is covered with family coat of arms. Around the base of the bed are shields with a red lion rampant on the left side and two magpies with a wide black band and another magpie underneath. These are surrounded by carved wreaths with apples and green and red foliage. Above is a beautifully carved canopy.


    Sir George is in armour picked out in gold. He has a closed book in one hand and a long sword in the other. His wife is dressed in black with gold trimming at her cuffs and round her head dress.


    The chancel has been extended to the north and there is another small altar, with a carved stone tombstone in the floor to George Brownlow Doughty who died in 1743.


    On the north wall is the massive wall tomb of Sir George St Paul, son of Sir Thomas, who was the wealthiest and most influential member of the family. He is wearing armour and is depicted lying on his side with his head propped on his hand with a pillow under his elbow. In his other hand is his sword. Details on his armour are picked out with red and gold. Below him is his wife, Frances Wray, who came from nearby Glentworth. She is also shown lying on her side and holding a book. She is dressed in a black farthingale with white ruff .


    The two figures are set in an arch which has red and white flowers set in black squares on the underside. On the back is a memorial plate to them. Dark and pale alabaster pillars support a portico with a crest above.


    At the base of the tomb is a small figure of a girl. This is Mattathia, their only child who was born after 12 years of marriage but died before she was two. She is wearing a black dress with a beautifully picked out white lace head dress and collar. She is buried under the opposite wall and there is a brass plate commemorating her there. On either side of her are small putti, (naked small boys). One is in poor condition but the other has a skull under his foot.


    After the death of Sir George, Francis Wray married Robert, Lord Rich. He bought the Earldom of Warwick from James I for £10,000. Their memorial is on the north wall to the left of Sir George’s tomb. Their heads are set in a roundel with Frances wearing her countess’s coronet. Above is the Warwick crest with coronet. Below is a plaque with an inscription.

    This is a delightful church and we really enjoyed the visit. It is well worth making the effort to visit.

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Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Community information for St Lawrence's Church, Snarford

 

All our Lincolnshire churches are in CCT’s North region.

Useful local links

Visit Lincolnshire tourism website 

Lincolnshire Family History Society 

Lincolnshire Churches Trust 

Society for Lincolnshire History & Archaeology 

List of churches in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire is in the Diocese of Lincoln

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

St Lawrence's Church, Snarford, Lincolnshire

Keyholder

If the access information for this church is listed as 'Keyholder nearby', this means that the key is kept by one of our invaluable volunteer 'keyholders', who usually live just a short walk from the church and can give visitors the key; sometimes this is a nearby hotel, pub, library, art gallery or other venue. You will find instructions explaining how to get the key when you arrive at the church.

Disabled access

There is a footpath to the church and one small step down into building.

Facilities

Due to the historic nature of our buildings, only a very small number of them have heating or running water meaning that they can be cold, and very rarely have toilet facilities. The lighting is usually operated via a 'push button' timer or a motion sensor. We do apologise for any inconvenience the lack of facilities may cause.