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Market Deeping Church 
 
The Parish Church is dedicated to St Guthlac.   St Guthlac, an Anglo Saxon hermit, came to the Island of Crowland from the Monastery ay Repton in 669 A.D.   Formerly a soldier of fortune, he had then dedicated his life to religious study, counselling and solitude.   He died at the age of forty in 689 A.D., and Crowland Abbey was founded in his memory by Etherbald, King of Mercia some few years later. 

The present church was built in the early part of the 13th century, replacing an earlier smaller one. 

After the Norman Conquest, Richard de Rulos extended and restored the Chapel at St. Guthlac at Deeping, while engaged in draining the fens.   The carvings at the bottom of the Chancel Arch and on the Choir Stalls symbolises this change, depicting that where once "there we Bitterns amongst the Rushes there are now Partridges amongst the Corn".   The roof line of the original building can be clearly seen in the Nave. 
 Much of the design of the Church is 15th Century, including the embattled tower.   The blocked arch in the Chancel is very early and there is evidence of another later Arch at floor level behind the organ.   The entrance and porch is probable 13th Century from an earlier building.   The door is probably 18th Century but holds the medieval iron tracery of slender leaf patterns.   The Nave has transitional arcades with rounded arches on the north side. The  sanctuary contains two sedilia, a piscena and an aumbry.    Two canopied niches in the east wall contain 20th Century statues of St Guthlac and St Hugh of Lincoln.   In the Chancel, two windows containing twelve charming roundels tell the story of the life of St Guthlac.   These roundels are a copy of the seven hundred year old St Guthlac Roll, now to be seen on request, at the British Museum.  The South Aisle has a piscena and aumbry, and another piscena is to be found in the pier of the North arcade.  There are also clear indications of the Roof Loft and the stairs to it. 
 There is a fine example of a Saxon stone coffin lid in the Sanctuary and more in the Porch.  The piece of very early stone with its religious motif, could have been part of a cross or memorial and was in the Rectory garden in 1962.   The font is fourteenth century and originally would have decorated and carved shields around its basin. 

 

In 1878 the Church underwent a major restoration costing £2,875 and it was only in 1967 that the full extent of the alterations became known from the personal diary of the then Rector, The Rev David Robertson and family,  who bore much of the cost .  The work included the remaking of the Chancel, a new south aisle roof.   The north aisle was enlarged and the plaster removed from the whole of the inside to expose the stonework.  The floor of the nave was lowered to its original level and the Church re-seated with oak pews, the ends of which were carved with emblems of Crowland Abbey.  New hangings and frontals embroidered by the Rector's family were provided and the pulpit of Olive wood was subscribed for and presented by the school children.   It was intended that the East window should be  of stained glass, but this did not take place. 

he Church owes most of its silver to the generosity of the Hildyard family.   It has an Elizabethan type goblet of hand beaten silver of uncertain date, probably around 1700, which has been extensively repaired and restored. The Church also possesses a large pewter flagon dated 1774.   One silver tray and two silver platters were given by the Rev W. Hildyard in 1831 and 1835 and in 1875 the same donor provided a silver flagon.   In 1878 and 1894 two silver chalices were given in memory of Sophia Hildyard and Alexander Grant Hildyard.  Many gifts have been given to St Guthlac's during the past 35 years in the memory of their families and to beautify our Church  

The Organ was built  by William Hill of London in 1882 and installed on September 28th of that year.   It has two manuals and pedals, with thirteen speaking stops and three couples.   It was extensively overhauled and restored by Hills of Cambridge in 1968 and in 1994, the latter restoration including tonal modification and the provision of a trumpet stop.  

 
 
                       
The beautiful Altar Reredos with its intricate mosaic was also installed in 1882.  The angel you can see here is a fine example of the pre- Raphaelite tradition.  The cross  looks so realistic that many have been surprised to find it created from mosaic. 
 
  

In the tower there is a peal of six bells cast by Joseph Eyre of St Neots in 1766.   The tenor bell weighs sixteen hundredweights. The bells were overhauled and retuned by Taylor's of Loughborough and a new bell frame provided in 1989.  This new frame contained provision for two new bells to enable the octave.  In 1998  with the help of the Millennium Commission  these new bells were added. They were cast by Taylors and blend extremely well with the original bells to form the octave.  

The clock was placed in the tower in 1763.   It was extensively overhauled and a new self-winding mechanism provided by Smith of Derby in 1996.  Also on the tower are two sundials suitably inscribed, probably the gift of Rev. Andrew Borrodale on coming to the parish in 1710.  

In 1594 - 1595 The Rev William Colsel was paid twelve pence for "keeping and writyng" parish accounts, but in 1710 the present Parish registers were commenced.  All the earlier registers or "writings" were torn to pieces by the then Rector's wife who is described in the first register as "a woman of great passion, who blinded her husband by the same means".  For thirteen years from 1710 the Rev Andrew Borrodale kept the registers with unusual care and restored some earlier than that date.  
 

In 1997 a new screen was built at the west end of the Lady Chapel in memory of Canon David Davies, Rector at the Church between 1962 and 1987.  This screen forms a new clergy vestry enabling the original vestry to become the choir vestry. 
 

 
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