Friday, February 24, 2017
Not far from the A16 in Lincolnshire is the small village of Haugham.* It’s a place that means something to me because, long ago, before I was so much as thought of, my newly married parents lived there. The view from their house took in the village church and it was impressed upon me, when my parents reminisced to me about their early years, that the spire of this church was special because it had been built in imitation of the great and graceful spire at Louth, the local market town (where my mother had worked before she was married), and Louth, as we all knew, had and has a very special spire.
Well, it’s true. All Saints’ Haugham was built between 1837 and 1840 to designs by George Willoughby§ at the behest of (and with funds provided by) the vicar, George Ascough Chaplin.¶ It’s very small, this church, and modestly constructed of brick with cement render. But the spire is similar to the one at Louth in its overall outline – the large pinnacles, linked by buttresses to the crocketed spire, together with the generous window on the upper storey certainly create a similar impression. It’s not a direct copy, but is certainly a homage.
The setting is outstanding. The church is in the middle of a field, approached by a green lane. In my parents’ time, rabbits jumped around the field, entertaining my mother as she took breaks from housework and remembered her young years working in an office in Louth, in the shadow of the greater church whose design the one at Haugham echoes. Such is the stuff of memory.†
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* Pronounced ‘Haffum’.
§ Some give the architect as W A Nicholson; Pevsner attributes the building to Willoughby (a Louth architect), saying that he may possibly been have assisted by Nicholson.
¶ The Chaplins were local landowners and some members served as MPs in Lincolnshire. They certainly were landowners at both Haugham and nearby Tathwell in the 19th century, but I don’t know whether George Ascough Chaplin was squarson or if he was a benefice-holding younger son of this illustrious family.
† All Saints, Haugham, is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. There is more about the church here.