The Church of St. Denys in the heart of Sleaford is one of the many fine churches that dot the Lincolnshire landscape; it is often considered the greatest church landscape in Britain.
A parish church existed here at the time of the Domesday Book, but the current building dates largely to 1180 at which time it consisted of the nave, tower and south aisle. The renowned broach spire was added in 1220 bringing the church to around 144 feet in height, it is one of the earliest stone broach spires to survive in England and is thought of as a top example of its kind.
A chantry chapel was added in 1271. Around 1430 the north transept and clerestory were built. This version of the church survived pretty much until the 19th Century.
In the Civil War the church was used as a barracks by Parliamentary troops who destroyed the interior furnishings, broke the stained glass and made off with everything of value and it was not until 1772 that repair work was completed. Twenty years later an altar rail designed by Sir Christopher Wren (and leftover from the refit of Lincoln Cathedral) was donated to the church.
In the early 1800s the church was used as a schoolroom, much to the disgust of the local vicar, Edward Trollope, who called it “desecration”. But by the mid-1800s this practice had ceased and the church was enlarged by the addition of a north aisle in 1853 to cope with the growing population in the town. A storm in 1884 damaged parts of the church and repairs were undertaken.
In 1919 Sir Ninian Comper restored the church’s rood screen in typical style. The last major addition to the church were the solar panels in the roof, added in 2008.
Photo - Andrew J. Müller
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