The Church History

Hill Road, Heapham, Lincolnshire, DN21 5PT

All Saints Heapham is a Grade II* listed church located in the scattered hamlet of Heapham. Accessible via a short well kept track, the church proudly stands rather forlornly in a field  surrounded by a small grave yard, mature  trees and seasonal flowers.

The church has history stretching back at least nine centuries and like its neighbours, has an anglo-saxon tower, with the usual double-arched bell openings in its upper storey.  On its west face it also displays a little Saxon 'keyhole' window and the upper arch of its original doorway now filled in. Two features, however, make Heapham's tower distinctive; the later buttresses built to support it, and the fact that (like much of the body of the church) it's surface is covered with a coat of cement rendering. Whilst this may be unattractive to the modern eyes, this serves as a reminder that, untill victorian times, the exterior of most churches was protected in a similar way.

Apart from its Saxon tower, All Saints possesses something more uncommon, even in this district of Saxon churches, its simple Saxon door which is still in use today.

As its narrow, pointed, lancet windows declare, the body of the church was built in 'Early English' style during the thirteenth century though its tub like font may be Norman on a later base. Unusually the nave is  shorter than the chancel. The pillars of its little aisle display some pretty leaf carving, while above the arches are crude faces, curiously reset upside-down.

In the chancel, the the right of the alter, is a sculptured thirteenth century piscina (a stone sink for washing communion vessels) but the purpose and date of the gable headed aperture in the wall opposite is obscure. It may possibly be an 'Easter Sepulchre', where (in mediaevil times) the consecrated communion wafer was symbolically 'buried' on Good Friday, to be brought out in triumph on Easter Sunday in memory of Christ's Death and resurrection.

In later years, the building has started revealing some of its hidden history, In 2009 a piece of rendering fell off the outer south facing wall and a partial massdial was exposed.

In 2010, grafitti was discovered in the South facing window behind the choir stalls. There are other bits of grafitti around the church too.

In 2016, whilst having repairs made to the building, the builder came across a mural on the East facing window. To date we are unsure what the mural is, some looks like bulrushes, some like flowers but another theory is it could be lettering.

Many building materials have been evident in the building from the natural stone and mortar, mud mixed with reeds and lime mixed with soot.

All Saints Heapham may be small but it is packed full of interesting history.