The Leaning Tower Of Surfleet, Lincolnshire

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On our short drive out on Sunday in-between the storms, we were passing through the village of Surfleet, in Lincolnshire, when to my astonishment, I saw a leaning tower poking out between the trees.  We had passed the church, St Laurence, but I made poor long suffering husband back the car into a drive, and turn around.  I have a fascination with leaning towers, and we have a quite a few in the Fens.  This one is quite amazing, because it over looks the village centre, so I should think its checked regularly for movement, but it really does have quite a lean to it, about 2 meters, thats just over 6ft.  If you look at the porch, that too seems to be leaning, but away from the tower.

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This is the view that made me turn back, it was late, so I knew the church would be locked, but I just had to take some photos.  Its a difficult church to take photos of, as it is surrounded by trees, but I did find an old postcard thats shows the church minus the trees, and with a great view of the tower.  I should think the picture dates from the late 1800’s.

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The church was built during the 13th century, and the tower soon started to lean after the construction of the spire, when the foundations began to sink into the fenland soil.  The church was restored at the beginning of the 20th century, and it would have been interesting to explore the interior, but due to the time, it was locked, so we will visit again, but earlier next time.

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13 comments

  1. That is a fascinating old church! I hope you get back and take lots of pictures. What is the object on the wall in the next-to-the-last picture? Thanks so much for sharing these.

    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the visit. The object on the wall is a sun dial clock, a lot of churches have them, in one shape or another. Yes it was a shame it was lock, but the next post will be about the church in the next village which was open and very interesting as it has roof angels 🙂

    1. I’m just amazed its still upright, they fascinate me that they can stay up right. Although its not only here it happens, I have posted about one in Cheshire and one in Somerset. Its nice to see what the church looked like before the trees, I wonder why there were no trees ! 🙂

  2. Absolutely superb photos Lynn.Love the changing light (if you took all these during one visit) A very interesting church too and love all the different perspectives Think we share a similar approach to church photography~ I must go through masses of shots at single church , depending of course on many factors but usually , I find so much that I long to capture and preserve. I have been staying away from looking at too much stuff online lately as am experiencing ‘burn-out” I am an activist /advocate for animal rights and just recently had felt buried by teh amount of cruelty and enormous amount of ignorance , greed and stupidity and sometimes just seems nothing more than sheer evil. I write letters/emails, sign petitions ect and exchange info and opinions with other like minded people and also very involved in environmental issues. causes ~ I am so easily affected (too empathetic but completely involuntary , just built in!) by suffering of others and injustice ect that it takes its toll ~ hard not to want to fight as much as one is able, but comes a point that I am just overwhelmed emotionally by it all. I have been trying to distance myself or limit myself a bit so if I have not been here much you will know why~ nothing to do with lack of interest on my part for your posts~ just need to spend time away from the computer or I end up going right back to the activists alerts ect! It is hot as Hades here and no pleasure to be had going out of doors~ I always feel like a prisoner in August and well into Sept here. Hope you are enjoying days out ~ I know there have been some winds and rain in some parts of GB from a hurricane, but have you been affected there at all? Dry as a bone here and everything shriveling up. Anyway, thank you for this lovely post and wish the world really was as benign,tranqill and pleasant as this church appears. Remind me to share a thought I recently read some writers thoughts about going into a church at night~

    1. Thank you Valkrye, yes the photos were all taken on the same day, the clouds were moving so fast. Glad you enjoyed the visit, I was just amazed how much the tower was leaning.
      I sometimes think that until man learns to live in peace with each other, animals do not have a hope in hell. maybe thats a bit strong but we live opposite some one who has a small holding and she saves dogs, she is a charity and she gave up work to save dogs that have just been dumped, from young puppies to elderly dogs. She takes them from the dog pound (they are kept for one week and then put to sleep) she takes as many as she can each week to save them and finds homes, she has a network all over the country of people and has saved so many dogs. But its the ones that come in that have been beaten and their legs broken or they are starving to death, that breaks my heart…….why would anyone do that to any living creature. But that is just one of many awful things that go on in the world. But the world has always been the same, really no matter what century, but you would have thought that as man learnt more, he would have progressed into learning to live as humans, one race and worked to make the world a wonderful place…..maybe its something in us and will never resolve itself.
      I think why I like visiting churches, is mainly because of man’s achievement, most of these buildings were built hundreds of years ago and they built these wonderful buildings with no computer, no modern equipment and most probably thought the world was flat. I will now get down from my soap box, because there are good people in the world who care, like you and my neighbour and that makes it a good place to be. As to the weather, we had rain like I have never seen before, we did miss the worse of the storm thank goodness, but our lower garden was flooded and there is still water there now, but it is slowly going away, never happen before in the seven years we have been here. I think we must be having all your rain, but a least I have not had to water the plants for a few days now. I hope you get some cooler weather soon, we are just not use to prolonged heat, and the little spell we had was quite enough, infact the nights have cooled down quite a lot and its much nicer to sleep in. The thought sounds interesting, tell me someday 🙂

  3. Hello again Lynn. Lovely to hear from you . I think as regards animals. I have been incredibly naive in thinking that we had progressed in a linear and were more enlightened ,but now know that this is something ‘man” rarely does~ we progress in some areas but rarely in many areas at one time and rarely or maybe even never as a majority .~ As you say, just heart breaking and fills me with a kind of impotent rage ~ because more than anything I would love to prevent any cruelty to any living being , animal or human and frankly will never really understand how anyone can perpetrate harm to animal, human or the earth (which sustains and enables us to exist at all.) I am however encouraged and to some degree take consolation in the knowledge that there are others who do feel the same as you and I and your amazing neighbor ~ It is really up to us to speak for the voiceless and vulnerable whenever we can in whatever way we can. I know exactly what you mean too re: churches and never lose my sense of awe at what man at his very best, is able to achieve, his/her vision and creativity~ mind blowing really and particularly during the period of the Middle ages ~ just astounding the visionary feats they achieved in the cathedrals , castles and other bldgs~ How one can not but marvel at these incredibly beautiful and astounding places , I just do not understand The little snippet I read in a novel the other day rather resonated with me where one character said that when one enters an empty church at night it feels in some way that one has disturbed or interrupted some secret alchemical process ~ I have felt that way many times when arriving or coming upon a church at dusk or just as dark is descending ~ if the door is still unlocked I always feel that I have or are am likely to come upon something that has it’s own secret life at night ~ superstition? I am not sure of the source really but the atmosphere in some and in many really churches really is so tangible, almost palpable in some don’t you think? As if it does have a life of its own ~ especially when no humans are about. Maybe it is just sensing so much multi-layered life and history having taken place within and without it’s walls ~ whatever it is I really like the idea of an alchemical process of some kind taking place when all is quiet and empty It does feel like a presence and distinct personality resides in each church. Glad your weather is a bit more reasonable~ We had rain!!! at long last~ thank goodness. Hot again but not nearly so severe. Take care.

    1. Yes I have that feeling nearly every time I enter a church, I visited two today, one was ok, felt fine, the other felt like I had interrupted something even through there was no one there, a couple of times I felt if one one was watching, but not scary, just there, waiting for me to leave, most strange. But they are so old that there must be traces of time that surface once and a while. Anyway hope your weather is better, ours is a lot cooler now, almost the end of our summer, gone before it really started 🙂 Take care too.

  4. I had a feeling you would know what I was referring to~ although you can sometimes feel that in a church even in daylight , there seems something especially pronounced as far as atmosphere when you come upon some churches at dusk or later. Maybe you are just getting a brief cool front and not all the sunny weather retired just yet~ some years it can extend well into Sept ~ They used to call that extended summer weather in England Little St Luke’s Summer but think “Indian Summer’ is the term used most often these days. Anyway, maybe you will still get some fine days yet before autumn arrives. 104 degrees Fahrenheit here today! Excruciating! Bye for now.

  5. If you like leaning towers have you visited St James church, Dry Doddington, just off the A1 near Claypole? It’s definitely worth a visit. Also the church at Hough on the hill has some amazing unique but modern, beautiful carving of lectern, priest’s chair and pulpit.

  6. Hi I live in Surfleet and am amazed on a daily basis by the lean on the tower. I was just looking up when there will be a carol service there so I can enjoy the interior too! Great blogs. We are hoping to move to mid Norfolk asap when our house sells.

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