University of Oxford
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Images from the Minster Church of St Mary, Stow in Lindsey

Version 2 2022-12-14, 12:46
Version 1 2022-12-09, 18:03
educational resource
posted on 2022-12-14, 12:46 authored by Woruldhord Project Team

St Mary's, Stow-in-Lindsey is one of the few surviving Anglo-Saxon Minster churches, and is chiefly remarkable for its impressive size compared with other surviving Anglo-Saxon buildings. It gives an idea of what must have been lost when the Normans rebuilt so much after the Conquest. It can be seen from afar, surrounded by its small village, in the largely flat countryside north-west of Lincoln. It rises straight up, without any later additions of aisles or clerestories. There have been some Norman and later modifications, but its size must be almost exactly the same as in about 1050. The nave and chancel were rebuilt in Norman times, and the latter is a fine example of that period, but the surviving Anglo-Saxon features are unique, comprising the crossing with its four high arches, as well as the transepts. There were two periods of the Anglo-Saxon building, as it is recorded that a Bishop Eadnoth rebuilt the church. As there were two bishops of that name, the rebuilding took place either between c. 1004 and 1016 or between c. 1034 and 1050. The lower parts of the walls appear to be of the earlier period, and show signs of fire. The crossing arches are about 14 feet wide, but 30 feet in height, and apart from Norton in County Durham, Stow has the only surviving true Anglo Saxon crossing, all four arches being of the same height. They are unmistakably Anglo-Saxon, and similar although lower arches can be seen at Wittering near Peterborough and St Benet’s in Cambridge. The masonry of the transepts is Anglo-Saxon, and includes a complete window and a doorway, and traces of two further windows. The crossing at Stow was reinforced by the insertion of pointed gothic arches in about the 14th century, possibly to take the added weight of the new crossing tower which might have been previously of wood. The roofs were lowered at the same time, but in the 19th century a major restoration took place, raising the roofs again and otherwise taking the building back closer to its Anglo-Saxon and Norman appearance. A visit to the Minster Church of St Mary, Stow in Lindsey remains a breathtaking experience a thousand years after its construction.


Date Created



10th - 11th century

Temporal Coverage



Peter Harold Sargeant


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