Content from Andrew Bowell – All Saints Church Fosdyke
There has been three established Churches on the present site, and the first church records go back to 1439. They have all been dedicated to “All Saints” – with the first one being a twin in design to the very beautiful early cruciform fenland church with central tower and spire at Algarkirk. It fell into disrepair and was taken down and a new one built using the old material, in 1756.
The second church was a neat little structure with a low tower, containing one bell. The first church had five bells, but four of them were sold to help defray the expenses of building the second one. The church contained a neat altarpiece representing the wise men presenting their gifts to the infant Jesus: their was also an octagonal font, very beautifully carved, with angels in the compartments, and a pyramidal cover of handsome fret work. The font was carried through all three churches and is still in use today.
The third and current church was designed by Mr Edward Browning of Stamford, and built by Mr Pattison of Ruskington. It stands upon a shallow mound some feet above the level of the road, and is composed of small red bricks and Bath Stone dressings. The old Barnack stone, which remained from the first church, being used in the construction of the larger portion of the walls. It consists of a nave, north and south aisles, chancel, vestry, tower and spire.
Dedicated to All Saint’s the current building was gifted by the Rev’d. Basil Beridge and consecrated in 1871. Revd Beridge was an important person in the area – his family having been local gentry here and at nearby Algarkirk since the time of James 2nd. He was a ‘squarson’ – a local curiosity combining the roles of parson and squire (It is interesting to note that Canon Gervase Markham – born in Grimsby, was the last squarson in England, and died aged 97 years as recently as 2007). Revd Beridge was also a local magistrate for Boston. Fortunately, he was a great benefactor for Fosdyke, and at his own expense of some £8,650.00 he rebuilt All Saints Church, built a new vicarage on the site of a previous Public House, built a school for the village and brought the glebe land for the Parish up to about 100 acres – sadly, long appropriated during the ‘glebe wars’ of the mid twentieth century.
The current building was erected as a replacement and enlargement of an earlier building destroyed by fire, which itself replaced the first church; the only reminder of which is the lovely 14th. century font with its lofty oak Victorian cover, said to mimic the famous Boston Parish Church, or ‘Stump’ as it is affectionately known locally.
The noticeable tilt to the handsome chevron leaded spire is there because the tower stands on ‘new’ ground and not the earlier footings of the previous two church buildings. The tower houses a single bell now, as two were sold off at the time of rebuilding to help defray costs. It is topped off by a wonderful gilded cockerel weather vane, restored for the centenary of the present building in 1967.
Resembling the early English style, the interior of the building is magnificently simple, and yet beautifully proportioned, only the plainest of materials are used, save the 3 lancets of stained glass which make up the imposing East window, and yet the overall effect for a small village church is a masterful example of the work of architect Edward Browning.
The clerestory consists of cupped circlets, and the nave roof is supported by Mansfield shaftlets, giving variety to the colouring of the stonework. The nave and chancel roofs are substantial in character, and pleasing in form. The former is open; the latter vaulted and panelled. The alleys are paved with Minto no tiles, and those of the chancel are of very rich and well-assorted colours.
A reminder of the previous building is to be found in an early photograph on the North Wall.
A programme of maintenance work is now under way to make sure that this lovely building is as beautiful for future generations as it has been for us.