Market Stainton is a typical small medieval Lincolnshire village, with a crescent shaped village green and a few houses spaced around it, the dwellings varying in type and size. The village has a superb Hall as well as farm cottages and a few new build properties too. It really is a delightful little hamlet, although it has no amenities at all for its residents.
Even the church is a goner. This is an isolated Lincolnshire Wolds community and it seems that there is little support for this once beautiful medieval church. The building dates back to the 13th century and the Anglican parish register dates from 1689 for baptisms and burials, 1690 for marriages. It has been much repaired and altered over the centuries, and is now in a state of considerable disrepair; it’s a good number of years since it was last used for worship. St Michael’s church is officially redundant and up for sale, with only limited possible uses owing to its Grade II listed status and the type of planning permission likely to be granted. It cannot be made into a home.
The door was unlocked on Sunday so I crept in with my camera. I did actually tiptoe, as the roof is quite literally coming down. The early nineteenth century ceiling in the nave has been breached in numerous places, plaster is coming off the walls and the delicate plaster vault in the chancel is collapsing. There are chunks of debris covering the floor and the pews and I did consider that any undue noise may well result in further falling of masonry. The whole place is wet through and crumbling from the weather.
As fascinated as I was by the obvious original simplicity of the interior and the history of this once lovely country church, I felt a haunting sense of sadness too. It will only be a short matter of time before it is lost forever as unfortunately, in 2016, there is no official money for its upkeep and the local villagers have no way of raising the funds necessary to save it. This is it –