365-364 View From The Pulpit St Wulframs Church Grantham Lincs, UK
Simon Jenkins in his book "England''s Thousand Best Churches" awards St Wulframs church in Grantham a five star rating, in part for the tower and spire. "Here is the finest steeple in England", he writes. Constructed in the early 1300s, at 282 ft. the spire is one of the highest in the country on a parish church, dominating the views of the town. The church is built of Lincolnshire limestone, probably from around the Ancaster area.
It has to be said that Grantham is a place with a single real claim to fame. Much like Liverpool was the birthplace of the 1960's icons 'The fab Four', Grantham was birthplace of the scurge of the 1980's 'The Iron Lady'. Heady times. In the UK one of 3 million unemployed, Militant Tendancy (I often drank in the same Liverpool pub as Derek Hatton), pit towns desimated and Arthur Scargil. When he said that over 20,000 mining jobs would go they called him mad. He wasn't mad enough, the final figure was over twice that. However, dont get me on that subject....
But if you pass through this way, this church should be worth a visit. Check out its stunning spire and try to find its hippopotamus head. The church is dedicated to St Wulfram, a 7th century missionary born in about 650 AD near Fontainebleau, south of Paris. A quite popular saint of the time.
He was the son of a Frankish soldier but instead of following in his father''s footsteps, he took Holy Orders. He was Archbishop of Sens in 693. In 700 he became a missionary to the pagan Frisians in what is now northern Germany. He died in 720 and was canonised after numerous miracles had been attributed to him. There is a large collegiate church dedicated to him at Abbeville in northern France .
In pre-Reformation times this church contained a shrine of St. Wulfram. The reliquary was probably housed in the Crypt and at times in the upper chamber of the North Porch. The medieval font c1496 is surmounted by a tall and elaborate fixed cover of 1899 designed by Sir Walter Tapper. Inside the cover are three carved figures depicting Edward the Confessor, St Hugh of Lincoln and St Wulfram.
The Francis Trigge Chained Library is a great treasure of the church, established in 1598 when Reverend Francis Trigge, Rector of Welbourn, gave £100 for the purchase of books to set up the library. There are 356 separate items including a book printed in Venice in 1472, that is four years before Caxton introduced printing into England. Over 80 volumes are still attached by chain to the shelves, preventing their loan or theft. Unfortunately I missed this on my visit.
This image has been used on the churches blog (by permission) at www.stwulframs.org/wordpress/?page_id=2
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