27 April 2011

Barton upon Humber

As its full name implies, Barton lies on the south bank of the River Humber. The town's treasure is St Peter's, partly on account of its tower, the lower stages of which are pre-conquest, i.e. Anglo-Saxon. Adjoining the tower is the only surviving Anglo-Saxon baptistery.

The church was made redundant in 1970, and its archaeological importance led to it being taken into the care of the Department of the Environment in 1978. Between then and 1984 over 2,800 interments, in and around the church, from the Anglo-Saxon to the Victorian periods, have been excavated and studied. St Peters is thus Britain's largest resource for historic bone analysis, enabling study of diet and disease through the ages.

Although its foundation goes back to 970, what is most immediately striking is the 18-window clerestory. Nearby St Mary's, also commenced in the late tenth century, and now the parish church, also has a clerestory, of the fifteenth century. One is put in mind of Long Melford, Suffolk. The town has a number of interesting buildings, including a Trumpton-like police station.

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