Spires and Steeples: Art and Heritage

Blankney to Scopwick

Scopwick is Old English for ‘Sheep Farm’. Today it owes its idyllic setting to the wide main street lined by ancient stone cottages and flanked by greens with the beck flowing through the middle; and lots of ducks!

War Graves Cemetery

As we approach the village we see the War Graves Cemetery, dominated by the beautiful white Cross of Sacrifice at the higher end. This is here because RAF Digby (which was formerly RAF Scopwick) lies within the parish and personnel from the base who have been killed in action are buried here. During WWII many New Zealand and Royal Canadian Air Force personnel were stationed at Digby and their graves predominate although there are five German aircrew interred here too. One of those buried here was John Magee, a Canadian officer who wrote the poem ‘High Flight’, widely published and quoted by USA president Ronald Reagan in the context of the Challenger space shuttle disaster. The full text is on display in the church and can be heard on the Spires & Steeples website.

Scopwick Church

Scopwick Church has a most unusual dedication to the Holy Cross rather than a saint. The most ancient element is the Saxon chevron masonry built into the lower part of the Early English tower; the blunt top half dates from the C17th. Within are Early English arcades and a rare stone coffin lies beside the font. The chancel was rebuilt in 1910.From 1831 to 1867 the vicar here was one Rev George Oliver who wrote a detailed account of village life entitled ‘Scopwickiana’. Amongst many fascinating details was an account of the annual ‘Beating of the Bounds’ ceremony during which deep holes were dug at various points around the parish boundary. Into these young boys were suspended head first to impress the village limits on their young minds. (Incidentally Rev Oliver is buried at St Swithin’s, Lincoln – passed on the first section of the trail.)

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