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Church Features Cont..

Pevsner, in his book on the Buildings of England – Lincolnshire, conjectures that the altar may have come from the nearby Louth Park Cistercian Abbey or from Legbourne Gilbertine Priory. It is more than likely that it lay in the grounds of Stewton church and was brought in by Thomas Bowen. It is somewhat damaged, being slightly chipped at the edges. However, it is likely to remain a mystery.

In 1902 the work of restoration had moved on. The nave was next for Fowlers attention. He constructed a new roof, rainwater goods and a new floor. He carefully preserved the Norman chancel arch and other fragments of earlier Saxon work dating to the 11th century.

He retained the Saxon slit light, made up, externally of four stones, with the head being carved out of a single block of stone. He preserved the blocked north doorway and he closed the outer doorway of the south porch to create a vestry.A new porch with a circular, wheel, window above was constructed in the west wall.

A new font (donated by Mrs. Norton) replaced the cylindrical one that Bonney noted. One wonders where that font went to. All the windows were re-glazed.

In 1903 oak pews were installed and an oak cover for the font was made. A Lych gate was built at the entrance to the churchyard. An old stone St Andrew’s cross was built into the outer east wall.

This cross requires some investigation as it appears to be in the shape of a stone boss from a vaultof a much larger building. Quite possible it came from the Abbey at Louth Park and found its way to Stewton after dissolution and reused. However, it may have been part of a stone cross in the churchyard as the church is named St Andrew. It will remain a mystery rather like the stone altar.

It was during Robert Deakin’s period as Rector that most of the restoration was carried out, leaving St Andrew’s much as we see it today. However, a later incumbent, Samuel Healey, obtained a faculty in 1922 to have works specified by Sir Charles Nicholson carried out. The was provision for a screen with doors under the chancel arch, a rood beam and figures above it, riddle posts and a dorsal for the altar, and an aumbry in the east wall. None of the work was carried out, quite possibly, because of the lack of funds for the work.

St Andrew’s has continued to be well cared for with electric lighting being installed in 1961. The walls lime washed and recently the buttresses have been underpinned and the organ improved. New kitchen facilities have been added in the vestry. Plans are already well advance for an outside toilet (2013).