Holy Trinity Church, Messingham
Holy Trinity Messingham


Holy Trinity Church, Messingham is Grade II* listed (List entry Number: 1346835) and is a focal point for the local community, as it has been for many generations. It is positioned on the North West corner of the village (population approx. 4000), standing well back from the road and surrounded on all sides by a substantial churchyard which borders onto open fields to the west, a bowling green and playing fields to the north and housing to the south and east. The churchyard is open for burials and the burial of cremated remains. A Grade II listed table tomb (list entry 1310302) is situated approximately five metres to the east of the east end of the chancel. There are also four graves listed on the Commonwealth war graves database.

Notable monuments in the church include a 1759 wall tablet dedicated to Rev John Farrand and a 1770 marble monument to Mary Farrand by J Wallis of Newark.
The earliest parts of the church building itself, notably the nave arcades, are considered to date from the 13th century. There is evidence of later stages of construction during the 14th and 15th centuries but what can be seen today is largely the work of 18th and 19th-century church builders and restorers. Remarkably, for example, the church tower was rebuilt in 1784 by Thomas Bell, following the collapse of its spire. Considerable re-ordering work was carried out in the late 19th century under the architect Herbert Kirk of Sleaford and Rev Alfred Edgar Moore (Vicar of Messingham 1879 – 1900). A new vestry was added in 1896 and further work seems to be have been carried out in the early 20th century, focusing on the current lady chapel which was once the vestry.

It was, however, a substantial scheme of work undertaken in the early 19th century that can be considered, the collapse of the spire not withstanding, to be the most historically and aesthetically significant chapter in the history of the church since the medieval period.


The first recorded vicar of Messingham is thought to have been Hugh in 1219, but, arguably, the incumbent who had the greatest impact on the church was Revd Dr Henry Vincent Bayley; priest of Messingham (1811-1826), Sub-Dean of Lincoln (1805-28), Archdeacon of Stow (1823-44), church restorer, and ‘acquirer’ of medieval glass.
Details of the work proposed by Bayley are outlined in a related Petition to the then Archdeacon of Stow dated April 1818. Bayley, largely with his own funds, commissioned the architect Edward Willson of Lincoln, described by Pevsner as “one of that breed of antiquaries-cum-architects, often without formal training, spawned by the historic writings of Walpole and Essex”, to carry out the restoration of Holy Trinity. Willson was one of the most influential figures in the early Gothic revival movement, especially in Lincolnshire. He contributed, for example, to AWN Pugin’s ‘Examples of Gothic Architecture’ (1828-31).

The Bayley / Willson scheme used Gothic Revival and Antiquarian principles to change the appearance of the church quite radically.

Their work included;

• Rebuilding of the chancel
• Moving in the south aisle wall to increase pitch of south aisle roof
• Installation of an unusual ornate pulpit and font in the middle of the chancel, both of which were
subsequently removed late 19th Century
• Beautification of the church through the installation of fragments of medieval glass from various sources

Willson went on to complete a considerable amount of work in Lincolnshire. His collaboration with Bayley can be viewed as one of the most significant clergy/architect partnerships in the county during the early nineteenth century.


As part of his scheme Bayley assembled and installed a significant collection of medieval stained glass fragments, largely in the East window. These date from the 14th - 16th centuries and, it is believed, were ‘acquired’ from the Lincolnshire churches of Laughton, Scotton, Kettlethorpe, Snarford, Scampton; as well as
churches as far afield as Malvern and Manchester. It is currently a matter of some debate as to the means of his acquisition.

Historic England's Listings description for Holy Trinity

(List entry Number: 1346835)

Church. C13 nave arcades, Cl4-C15 reset windows. Tower rebuilt late C18, remainder largely rebuilt 1818-21, with restorations 1890 and vestry of 1894. Coursed ironstone rubble with dressed stone band to rebuilt portions of tower, aisles and south porch. Ashlar dressings, slate roofs. West tower, 4-bay aisled nave with south porch and vestry adjoining north aisle, 2-bay chancel. 3-stage tower has chamfered plinth, quoins, west lancet to first stage, flat band, circular window, moulded string course, round-headed belfry openings and moulded cornice, coped battlements and crocketed finials. South aisle has quoins, 3-light square-headed windows with C19 tracery, a pointed west window with C19 intersecting tracery, dripmould and headstops, and an east door and 2-light square-headed window with Reticulated tracery; parapet and finials. North aisle has quoins, 2- and 3-light square headed windows with C19 tracery. Clerestory has triangular- headed 3-light windows on north side. Chancel has square-headed 2-light windows and a pointed 3-light past window with early Perpendicular tracery, dripmould and headstops. South porch has moulded pointed outer door and pointed double-chamfered inner door. Interior: north arcade has pointed double-chamfered arches on octagonal central pier, outer cylindrical piers, keeled east respond and filleted west repond. Later C13 south arcade has double-chamfered arches on filleted quatrefoil piers with keeled responds. Plain moulded capitals and bases throughout. C19 chancel arch, tower doorway and segmental-headed openings into south aisle. Decorated aumbry in chancel. Fragments of C14-C16 stained glass to east window and aisles. Monuments include: 1759 slate and ashlar wall tablet to Rev John Farrand with broken pediment, urn and carved cherub's head base; 1770 marble monument to Mary Farrand with coat of arms and urn on pediment, by J Wallis of Newark. N Pevsner and J Harris, The Buildings of England; Lincolnshire, 1978, pp 315-6.

Parish Registers


Parish registers provide a record of baptisms, marriages and burials which have taken place in the Parish.

The earliest book dates back to 1558 but due to water damage is difficult to read.

The following books are currently (March 2018) held at the Archives in Lincoln.


MESS General register 1558-1629
  Baptisms 1560-1629
  Marriages 1560-1629
  Burials 1558-1629
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/2 General register 1646-1812
  Baptisms 1646-1812
  Marriages 1646-1754
  Burials 1646-1812
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/3 Marriages 1754-1812
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/4 Baptisms 1813-1852
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/5 Baptisms 1852-1872
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/6 Marriages 1813-1837 
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/7  Marriages 1837-1885
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/8 Burials 1813-1875
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/9 Baptisms 1872-1905
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/10 Marriages 1885-1916
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/11 Burials 1875-1914
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/12 Baptisms 1905-1949
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/13 Marriages 1917-1928
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/14 Marriages 1928-1943
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/15 Marriages 1943-1954
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/16 Marriages 1954-1967
MESSINGHAM PAR/1/17 Burials 1914-1958

The more recent books are kept in the Church.

We aim to have these books available, in Church, for inspection on an annual basis.

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