All Saints


Particular thanks to Dr Steve Parry, British Geological Survey

According to the official listing description All Saints’ dates to the C13 and C14. The tower was largely rebuilt during the C17, while the church in general was extensively restored in 1837, with further work being carried out in 1856 (or 1859?) and 1882. The building presently comprises a west tower, a nave, north and south aisles, a south porch, a north vestry and a chancel. The tower, nave, aisles and vestry are embattled; the chancel has a simple parapet. All the windows and ornamentation, which are of Middle Jurassic Lincolnshire Limestone, date to the C19. The walling of the church is dominated by Late Triassic Skerry Sandstone and Early Jurassic Lias Limestone (‘Blue Lias’). Both of these stone types would have been obtained locally – the Skerry Sandstone either from shallow workings in the surrounding Mercia Mudstones (the former ‘Keuper Marls’) or simply collected as ‘fieldstones’, and the Lias Limestone from quarries located a short distance to the east of Elston (the Lias outcrop, specifically that of the Barnstone Member, runs from Orston via Staunton and Cotham to Balderton and thence Newark).

Only the lower stage of the 3-stage tower is essentially original, and this presumably dates to the C13. It is dominated by roughly coursed, thin slabs and larger blocks of Skerry Sandstone (variably weathered and oxidized). Sporadic inserts of Lincolnshire Limestone and brick are seen in the south elevation. A former doorway (located at the tower–south aisle junction) has been infilled with coursed Blue Lias Limestone. Stages 2 and 3, dating to the C17 and in part C19, are also largely constructed of coursed Skerry Sandstone slabs, but with variable amounts of Lias Limestone. The upper half of stage 3 (i.e. above the level of the clock face) is evidently entirely constructed of Lias Limestone. As indicated previously, the quoins, the moulded band at the junction of stages 1 and 2, the mouldings associated with the windows, door and bell chamber openings, plus the pinnacles, crenellated parapet and gargoyles are all Lincolnshire Limestone.

Moving along the north side of the building, the north aisle is dominated by roughly coursed Skerry Sandstone blocks of various sizes. There are sporadic blocks of Lincolnshire Limestone throughout and a solitary block of Lias Limestone in the west wall. The adjoining vestry (of 1856) is constructed of regularly coursed blocks (presumably ashlared originally) of Blue Lias Limestone. The crenellated parapet, the door and window mouldings, the buttress facings and quoins, and the chamfered plinth are all of Lincolnshire Limestone (displaying the characteristics of Ancaster Stone).

Continuing eastwards, the north wall of the (1856-restored) chancel is constructed of Blue Lias ashlar. The parapet, window mouldings, chamfered plinth, buttress quoins and facings, and the sill band are of Lincolnshire Limestone (again bearing the hallmarks of Ancaster Stone). Below the sill band of the east end, the walling comprises blocks of Skerry Sandstone and Lincolnshire Limestone (the former being more abundant than the latter). Above the sill band, however, the walling is dominated by large blocks of Lincolnshire Limestone plus some Skerry Sandstone; Blue Lias Limestone has been used to ‘frame’ the hood mould of the window. The south-east buttress is constructed entirely of Lincolnshire Limestone ashlar. The chancel’s south wall reflects the north wall and is constructed of coursed Blue Lias Limestone. As before, the windows, parapet, buttresses and sill band are of Lincolnshire Limestone.

Moving onwards in a westerly direction, the south aisle is seen to be constructed of Lias Limestone. This is also true of the south porch, which asymmetrically ‘breaks’ the aisle. To the west of the porch, the west wall of the south aisle is dominated by Blue Lias Limestone, but does contain a few blocks of Skerry Sandstone. Lincolnshire Limestone has been used for all of the decorative work along the south side of the building, including the moulded doorway of the porch. It is worthwhile noting that the ‘pier’ blocks of the doorway are of Ketton Stone (a conspicuously ooidal variety of Lincolnshire Limestone quarried around the village of Ketton in Rutland) and that the porch’s south-west angle buttress contains a single, buff coloured block of (?)Mansfield Stone approximately 6’ above ground level. (Mansfield Stone, named eponymously, is a type of dolomitic sandstone formerly quarried from the Late Permian ‘Lower Magnesian Limestone’ succession – now the Cadeby Formation – of the western Nottinghamshire).

Above the level of the aisles, the clerestory to both the north and south evidently comprises a mix of Blue Lias Limestone and Skerry Sandstone. As elsewhere, the window mouldings, crenellated parapet and pinnacles are of Lincolnshire Limestone.

The Blue Lias Limestone–Lincolnshire Limestone combination with was evidently popular in Elston during the mid-C19. Indeed, these two stone types were used in tandem for The Old Rectory (located immediately west of the church) and for the west and south walls of The Old School House (located immediately to the south-east).