See also Belton House
Belton—the name means a bell-shaped hollow with fresh water springs—Parish Church was an early meeting place for fording the river Witham. The Domesday Book notes that there was a church, three mills, and 40 acres of meadowland here. The abbey of St Mary, York, became owners and leased the manor of Belton out. It passed through numerous ownerships in the ensuing years.
The church has aspects of Norman, late medieval, Georgian, and Victorian architecture. The north arcade with a central pier dates from the Norman period as does the west tower’s lower section. The octagonal font is Norman but heavily restored. Medieval aspects can be found in the Perpendicular windows and the ceiling of the western end of the aisle. The oak pulpit is Jacobean.
On each pinnacle of the church tower, rebuilt in 1638, is a weather vane reflecting the coat of arms of the Brownlow family. The tower has a ringing peal of five bells with the oldest dating from c1590. The chancel was rebuilt in 1721 by Dame Alice Brownlow. In the early 19th century the church was further changed. The tower was given a false entrance and the north memorial chapel was added in 1816 by the architect Jeffry Wyatt. Stained glass was added to the windows in the east and south, replacing earlier glass. The Victorians put a new ceiling on the nave and added pews in 1891.
There are 40 monuments in the church. Of particular note are the following:
Henry John Cockayne Cust and Harry Cust (1816-1917).
Sir John Brownlow, 3rd baron of Humby, 1779-1853) by Baron Carlo Marochetti.
Sophia Hume, Countess Brownlow (d. 1814) by Antonio Canova. She was wife of 1st earl.
Richard Brownlow (1153-1638) was an Elizabethan lawyer who founded the family fortunes; monument by master mason Joshua Marshall.
Sir John Brownlow, 1st baron of Belton (1594-1679) and his wife Alice by William Stanton.
Etheldred Anne Cust (1771-1788) by John Bacon. He was a modeller for Wedgewood, Derby and Coade ceramic factories.
Sir John Cust, 3rd baron of Stamford (1718-70) by William Tyler. Sir John was speaker of the House of Commons and the monument shows a speaker’s throne and mace. Tyler also did the chimney piece in Belton House.
Sir John Brownlow, 5th baronet of Humby (1690-1754) by Henry Cheere.
Sir John Brownlow Cust, 4th baron of Stamford (1744-1807) by Sir Richard Westmacott.
Dame Alice Brownlow (1659-1721) by Edward Stanton and Christopher Horsnaile.
William Brownlow (1699-1726) by Stanton and Horsnaile.
Belton House and Church
Three miles north-east of Grantham, Lincolnshire; off the A607, turn east to village of Belton, follow the signs
Tel. 0 1476 566 116
Open: house and church, 2nd week March-end Oct, Wed-Sun, 12.30-5pm; garden/park/shop/restaurant, Jan-end Feb, daily, 10.30am-4pm; March-end Oct, daily, 9.30am-5.30pm; Nov-end Dec, daily, 9.30am-4pm; adventure playground, March-end Oct, daily, 9.30am-5.30pm
National Trust property; restaurant; shop; parking; restored boathouse; adventure playground; Bellmount Woods and tower access from separate car park
Photos and text © by Barbara Ballard
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