touching place

ST GILBERT AND ST HUGH, GOSBERTON CLOUGH

The Lincolnshire village of Gosberton has a splendid 14–15th c. cruciform church, one of the very finest in the county (no small praise). At the end of the 19th century, residents of the small settlement of Gosberton Clough had a three-mile journey across the fen to worship, so the Revd E.T. Hudson, vicar of Gosberton, launched a campaign to build a church there. The church was dedicated by Bishop Edward King on 26 September 1903. It was one of the last works of the partnership of Ninian Comper and William Bucknall. It was built very simply with a half-timbered nave and concrete pebble-dashed chancel, containing square-headed windows in the late Perp. style.

Comper continued to contribute to the building. He was responsible for the World War I memorial E. window of 1920–1, showing the two patron saints; and a reading desk and chair (1941). It once had a typical riddel-posted altar, of which the four (Belgian) angels survive. ‘Small but very attractive’ was Pevsner’s verdict on Gosberton Clough church – even Sir Nikolaus knew that nice things come in small packages.

Of course, here Comper was working on a much smaller scale than in his larger masterpieces like St Mary’s, Wellingborough (ND, Jan. 2006) or St Cyprian’s, Clarence Gate (ND, Sept. 2010). But, as in his larger works, Comper embodied the words which originated from a Dean of Fécamp, that he quoted in his paper ‘Of the Atmosphere of a Church’. Gosberton Clough church ‘prays of itself’.

Map reference: TF202297

Simon Cotton

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