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The Parish Church of St Wulfram
Church Street
Grantham
Lincs
NG31 6RR

Map

Parish Office
01476 561342

History

By Tina Negus, used with permission

Click on link to see more inspiring pictures by Tina Negus.

The parish church of St Wulfram is a noble building in every aspect, one of the largest medieval churches in the country, seating around 700 people.  Simon Jenkins in his book England’s Thousand Best Churches gave it a five-star rating, in part for the tower and spire. ”Here is the finest steeple in England”, he writes.  Constructed in the early 1300s, at 282 ft. the spire is one of the highest in the country on a parish church, dominating the views of the town.  The church is built of Lincolnshire limestone, probably from around the Ancaster area.

Picture by Ken Hawley, used with permission

Click on link to view more pictures of St.Wulfram’s by Ken Hawley.

The spacious interior has fine vistas across the broad nave and aisles.  Inside and outside is a whole gallery of carved stone heads, most of them medieval, some no doubt portraits of local people of the time, some grotesques, some animals.  There is even a hippopotamus head to look out for.

There are plenty for visitors to enjoy and discover.  They can go up to the Chained Library and down to the Crypt Chapel.  The windows, with wonderfully varied tracery, contain fine Victorian and modern glass.

The newly opened Visitor Centre in the North Porch provides full information and a touch screen to help you make the most of your visit.  There is also a helpful audio tour available from the stewards.

Come and see all this for yourself.  You will be most welcome at St Wulfram”s.

Who Was St Wulfram?

The church is dedicated to St Wulfram, a 7th century missionary born in about 650 AD near Fontainebleau, south of Paris.

  • He was the son of a Frankish soldier but instead of following in his father’s footsteps, he took Holy Orders.
  • He was Archbishop of Sens in 693.
  • In 700 he became a missionary to the pagan Frisians in what is now northern Germany.
  • He died in 720 and was canonised after numerous miracles had been attributed to him.
  • There is a large collegiate church dedicated to him at Abbeville in northern France .
  • In pre-Reformation times the church contained a shrine of St. Wulfram.  The reliquary was probably housed in the Crypt and at times in the upper chamber of the North Porch.

The Chapels

The church has four remaining chapels in distinctive styles:-

1. The Lady Chapel – c1350 with splendid window tracery. Visitors will find a votive candle stand and a place for personal prayer.

Lady Chapel by Ken Hawley, used with permission

Click on link to view more pictures of St.Wulfram’s by Ken Hawley.

2. Crypt Chapel – c1350  restored  1899 – is beneath the Lady Chapel and is where the Reserved Sacrament is kept.

Crypt Chapel by Mary Meckenstock, 2008

3. Corpus Christi Chapel – 1450. With its clear glass in large Perpendicular windows, this is the lightest part of the church.

4. St Michael”s Chapel – furnished in 1960. It is in the north aisle and has a modern stained glass window depicting St Michael about to strike Satan.

The Font

Font Cover by Tina Negus, used with permission

Click on link to see more inspiring pictures by Tina Negus.

The  medieval font c1496 is surmounted by a tall and elaborate fixed cover of 1899 designed by Sir Walter Tapper. Inside the cover are three carved figures depicting Edward the Confessor, St Hugh of Lincoln and St Wulfram. The font is used regularly to baptise around 50 children a year from the parish.

The Windows

Catlin Window by Tina Negus, used with permission

Click on link to see more inspiring pictures by Tina Negus.

The windows afford excellent examples of geometrical tracery from the Early Gothic period, flowing tracery from the Decorated period, and five Perpendicular windows. Virtually no glass survives from medieval times but there are ten Victorian windows by Kempe and others, and four contrasting modern compositions including John Hayward”s 1970 Christ Walking on the Water.

The Sick, window by Kempe, captured by Tina Negus, used with permission

Click on link to see more inspiring pictures by Tina Negus.

The Francis Trigge Chained Library

The Francis Trigge Chained Library by Mary Meckenstock, 2008

This is a great treasure of the church, established in 1598 when Reverend Francis Trigge, Rector of Welbourn, gave £100 for the purchase of books to set up the library.  There are 356 separate items including a book printed in Venice in 1472, that is four years before Caxton introduced printing into England. Over 80 volumes are still attached by chain to the shelves, preventing their loan or theft.

The Trigge Library is open during the summer months on Mondays 10.00am to 12.00 noon, Thursdays and Fridays  2.00 pm to 4.00 pm.  The times may change due to local circumstances.  Up to date information available from the Parish Office telephone number 01476 561342.

The Organ

One of the finest in Lincolnshire, it was restored in 1993/4 when a fourth manual was fitted. There had been an organ in the church since 1640 but the original was destroyed in the Civil War. The present organ case was designed by Sir Walter Tapper. The organ can be heard to advantage at fortnightly recitals given on Saturday mornings.

The New Porch

The glass porch, a welcome addition, dedicated by Robert, Bishop of Lincoln; on 15th October 2000, celebrated the new millennium.  The Porch designed by Matthew Thomas, won The Presidents Award, a national prize for church architecture.

The Coffee Shop

Stained Glass window near the coffee shop by Todd Meckenstock, 2009

To help you enjoy your visit to this magnificent church we have a coffee shop which serves Traidcraft tea and coffee.  Do try our delicious home-made cakes.

The Coffee Shop is open Wednesday to Fridays 10.00am – 4.00pm and 10.00am to 1.00pm Satudays, April – September.  From October to March it is open on Saturday 10.00am-1.00pm.

If you have a few hours to spare each month – extra helpers are always welcome to join us in the Coffee Shop to serve both visitors and regulars alike. Contact Elizabeth Finn on 01476 572506.

We welcome all visitors

The Church and Visitors Centre are open to welcome visitors throughout the year.
From April to September a team of stewards will be pleased to welcome you anytime between 10.00am and 4.00pm Monday to Saturdays. These times may have to change due to local circumstances; up to date information is available from the Parish Office.  Tel. 01476 561342.

Bells at St.Wulfram's by Todd Meckenstock

During the winter months the church is open:
Monday to Friday from 9.30am – 12.30pm and Saturday 9.30am -1.00pm.

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