What’s in a name

041bThis is the church of St Michael’s at Buslingthorpe in Lincolnshire. It sparked my interest for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it is one of the  Churches Conservation Trust churches that I am tracking down as part of my Fifty before Fifty challenge. Secondly, it is the only remaining building of a lost medieval village and thirdly there is a possible Knights Templar link here.

The church is in a tiny modern hamlet now but was once at the heart of a medieval village long deserted. All that remains is evidence of a moated enclosure, a few lumps and bumps and the church.

But a new hamlet is now springing up around this church. To the left of the picture you can see the gates of an extremely large and modern house, to the right of this photo is an older, but still modern home.

Doing a little bit of research before writing this, I discovered a link to an article written in a 1932 edition of Notes and Queries which pointed out that the name Buslingthorpe uses exactly half the letters of the alphabet. Mr H Askew wondered if that was unique … I failed to discover whether it was or not, it’s just another one of those quirky little facts that I love so much.

Travelling around Lincolnshire looking for churches I became very impressed with Lincolnshire county council which had, in many places, erected an information board for general perusal. This told me, among other things, that medieval Buslingthorpe had been planned on a geometric layout and had even included a medieval T-junction.

Anyway, back to the church. It was built in the 13th century and altered over the years. In 1835 all except the tower was rebuilt in brick and it is pretty unassuming from the outside (and inside to be honest). But it houses a couple a lovely items.



This is one of the oldest military brasses in the country. Dating from the 14th century, it shows a knight in chain mail with his hands clasped together holding a heart.

054bThe other is another knight – one of the de Buslingthorpe family.

046bHe is slightly earlier, believed to date from the 13th century. His head lies on a pillow carried by two cherubs or angels and at his feet is a lion.

047bThe detail in the carving is amazing.

Now the reason I said there maybe Templars in this chapel is this effigy.

He is in his chain mail and his legs are crossed. There is a school of thought which says that the crossing of the legs on a knight’s effigy indicates he was a Templar who took part in the crusades.

In fact, this theory goes on to say that legs crossed at the ankles indicate participation in  one crusade, crossing at the knees is an indication of two crusades and crossing at the thigh of three.

If that theory is true, young Mr de Buslingthorpe here obviously took part in two crusades. The thing is, scholars still appear to be arguing over this point so I have no idea whether it is true or not.

I like the story though :)







  1. Interesting, I didn’t know that about the knights crossing their legs in different ways, will have to keep a look out. Any idea about why there is a Lion at his feet, have seen that lots of time :)

    • I’m not sure about the lion, I will endeavor to find out :)

      • Thank you :)

  2. The knight leg-crossing thing is the oldest chestnut in all church-visiting. It means nothing: it’s just because they look a bit daft with their legs out straight and it adds a bit of swagger.

    He’s lovely though, your photo brings out the fine mail carving and the nice orangey hue of the stone.

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