Lost roofs

St James, Louth, Lincolnshire

I’m becoming quite familiar with these two rather lovely fifteenth century angels. They are attached to the wall in the Trinity chapel in Louth parish church, where my colleagues and I say the morning office. They, along with a single smaller version in the V and A, are all that remain of the nave roof of this glorious church, constructed in the second half of the fifteenth century. The medieval roof was dismantled in the 1820s and replaced by a roof constructed of Baltic pine to the design of E J Willson. As a nod towards the original design, E J Willson incorporated painted plaster angels into his design, but they are not a patch on the medieval originals, which would have formed the hammerbeams of the old roof. As you can see from the photos the angels are feathered and hold instruments of Christ’s Passion. One has the crown of thorns, the second the pillar from the scourging. As is typical of roof carvings of the period they are rather stiffly and boldly carved and must have been impressive from the ground.

St James, Louth, Lincolnshire

St James, Louth, Lincolnshire

St James, Louth, Lincolnshire

My title parish - Louth, Lincolnshire
The interior of St James, Louth with its Baltic Pine roof.

Down the road is the redunant church of St Michael at Burwell. The ceiling of the tower incorporates reused timber including these two odd looiking figures, again of the fifteenth century Like the angels in Louth, they probably formed hammerbeams from another lost roof. As St Michael’s is a rather modest building , I do wonder if these figures here were also salvaged from the lost roofs in St James’ Louth.

Burwell, Lincolnshire

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