All Saints and its history

All Saints recent exterior

We are proud of our wonderful medieval Grade 1 listed church, which is a great blessing as well as a huge responsibility. We hope you will visit and soak up its history and its atmosphere.


Nettleham is a large village situated just north-east of Lincoln, and the church is located in the centre of the village. All Saints Church Nettleham was built in the late Saxon times. It was situated in the manor of Nettleham in the 11th century, a manor owned by Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor. Early in the 12th century the manor of Nettleham was given by the king to the Bishops of Lincoln and became the location of the Bishops’ Palace until about 1585. The remains of the Palace can be found to the west of the village, next to the Methodist Church, and it is a Scheduled Monument that merits a visit.
The majority of the church you can see dates from the 13th Century, including the tower and the lower parts of the nave. By the mid-19th century the Church was no longer controlled by Lincoln Cathedral and had its own vicar. A substantial redevelopment scheme was undertaken by Bodley and Garner, creating the chancel, extending the clerestory, dramatically changing the roof interior, and extending the north aisle.
Almost 50 years ago a fire destroyed the chancel, organ and the east window and caused major smoke damage to the Church. The traditional Oxford Movement layout can be seen in an old photograph, showing the chancel design by the great Victorian architects, Bodley and Garner.

All Saints in 19th Century

The fire was followed by a substantial rebuild of the east end of the church in 1970.

All Saints recent interior

A wonderful stone altar was discovered that had been buried to hide it from Puritan vandalism at the Reformation, and is now placed in the centre of the chancel. The cleaning of the walls revealed the sensational medieval wall paintings that are one of the great historic attractions of this important, Grade 1 listed church.

Medieval painting very small

After the fire, a new East Window was commissioned from the eminent 20th Century stained glass artist and designer, John Hayward (1929-2007), who completed over 200 windows in churches, including the magnificent West Window in Sherborne Abbey. The East Window at All Saints is one of the most striking features of the church, and represents Christ with hands extended backed by hints of Lincolnshire landscape, agriculture and industry, and a strong use of red which signifies both the fire in the church and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

All Saints East Window


At the turn of the Millennium the north wall of the tower was filled in to create a kitchen and toilet area.  This extra wall created a home for the village millennium tapestry, with material representing over 50 local organisations.
At the entrance to the tower stands the font, which dates back to 1849.  It is likely that the original one was by the south door, the traditional place for a font, representing the way we enter the church both physically and sacramentally.
The north aisle of the Church was built in the 13th century, but the windows are of a later date, including the one of St Ann, which was presented by the Hood family in 1909.

The Lady Chapel area, at the east end of the South Aisle, has an ambry, or cupboard, in which the Holy Sacrament is reserved, and where a light burns permanently to signify the Lord's sacramental presence. There is a statue of the Virgin Mary with child, and copies of two famous ikons. There is a candle stand for votive lights left by people as a signal of their prayer - this is made from timbers from the cathedral. The South Aisle, which is lofty and has a fine timbered roof, contains an indifferent east window, including the arms of four of the the more illustrious former bishops of Lincoln, and a large figure of St Peter with his related symbolism, including the keys of heaven and the cock that crowed at his denials of the Lord.

All Saints Lady Chapel Window

The South Aisle also has large and mainly clear windows, admitting a great deal of light. There are fragments of earlier glass, both very ancient and an image of St Francis by the distinguished 19th century stained glass designer, Charles Eamer Kempe, installed in 2008.

South aisle window fragment by

The tower itself was built in the 13th century, incorporating the original west wall of the nave. It houses a peal of six bells, which are rung every Sunday and on special occasions. The church is planning to enlarge the ring to eight bells in the near future, once the structural renovation is complete.

An extensive programme of historical analysis and building archaeology is planned to go on during the major refurbishment of the tower and the rear of the church.