About this church
St Andrews church is dated 1711, a Queen Anne church. Its design has been attributed to Sir Christopher Wren, who is said to have visited Stainfield Hall at about this time. The church lies north south, so that it forms a pleasing view in the parkland. It was built on the site of the only Benedictine priory in Lincolnshire; finds of sculptural and architectural fragments from the 14th century indicate the site of the priory church and buildings.
An interesting feature is a series of cross stitch embroideries. There are five panels in all, containing the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed. Originally, these were worked by the ladies of the manor as part of the church fabric and formed the altar reredos. The two smaller independent tapestries of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer are the originals from approximately 1711; the central Ten Commandments panels were reworked at the time of moving them in 1887 to the rear of the church, at the same time as the gallery was removed and altar window was added. Extensive conservation work was carried out in 1999 by the Textile Conservation Consultancy, Burghley House, Stamford.
Tattered banners used to hang in the church. Some say they were the battle standards of the Drake family; others that they were embroidered by the ladies of the Tyrwhitt family, and others believe they were the clothes of a wild man, who lived in the woods. The Wild Man of Stainfield, so the legend says, was asleep on a bank by a pit, but his presence had disturbed a plover’s nest. The parent birds made such a noise that they attracted the attention of Tyrwhitt-Drake as he rode by, who saw the man and killed him. No one seems to be able to set a date when he was supposed to have lived in the woods and kill cattle, sheep and, according to some versions, people too; explanations differ, but whatever the answers to these questions, the story of the wild man of Stainfield continues to interest those who hear it.