Spires and Steeples: Art and Heritage

Dorrington to Ruskington

By 1086, when the Domesday Book was compiled, Ruskington was known as ‘Reschintone’ but the village was a very old settlement even then. Pre-historic flint implements from 5,000 years BC have been found in the area but genuinely datable history really begins with a Saxon burial site found in 1871 to the north-west of the village.

Dated Buildings in Ruskington

As you look round the main street you will see several old buildings the most noticeable of which are Poyntell cottage, with a 1669 datestone, the Reading Room (1877) and the nearby national school (1868) all of which are just across the road from the church.

All Saints Church

All Saints itself is known to stand on the site of a (probably wooden) Saxon church and inside a massive tower arch from its Norman successor still survives, whilst there is Decorated work in the north and south arcades from the late C12th and early C13th. There was a spire too until it collapsed in the early C17th causing the present tower to be built in 1620. In Victorian times there was some restoration in 1861 and part of the chancel was rebuilt in 1873. Of special artistic interest however is the south aisle east window depicting the “Ascension” made by William Morris in 1873/4.

Links with Battle of Arnhem

The village also has special links with the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. When the Reconnaissance Squadron (1st British Airborne Division) was formed in 1941 it was stationed at Ruskington and following action in Sicily was dispatched to Arnhem where they saw fierce action and suffered many casualties. A framed history of the squadron hangs in the south aisle and beside it is a trumpet presented by Lloyd’s of London to he held in perpetuity at Ruskington in memory of ‘fallen comrades’. (The church key is available during office hours from Northwood Estate Agents nearby in High Street North.)

Pieces of Art in Ruskington

There are numerous artworks scattered around the village too and walkers will already have spotted the striking new seating on the bridge on arrival. The village stocks once stood here outside the church and the original bridge was built in 1841 to replace a ford. This and other unusual circular bridges over the beck and ‘gargoyle’ drainage outlets along the beck sides were commissioned by artsNK and LCC from the Lincoln ‘Arts West End’ group in 2004. There is also a stained glass window at the library – off route in Church Street – and a large ceramic panel by Pete Moss at the youth club. (Seen as we depart for Sleaford on the final stage of the trail.)

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