Tydd, St Mary
Tydd St Mary parish is at the southern tip of the Lincolnshire fens, bordering both Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. The beautiful Grade 1 church and its large churchyard are at the east end of an originally linear village. The surrounding area is very flat and so the tall steeple is highly visible, though there are a number of mature trees around the church.
The approach from the west along Church Lane is particularly memorable, the churchyard entered by the grade II listed (1204866) timber lych gate, built in 1927 as a war memorial. The churchyard contains many pre-nineteenth century headstones and the base of a medieval cross (listed grade II, 1064544).
Tydd St Mary is a large late-medieval church but there is evidence of a twelfth century predecessor and both nave arcades are of the early thirteenth century. The nave and aisle roofs are late-medieval or seventeenth century but the huge nave tie beams might be older. The west steeple is an impressive landmark in this fen area, made more interesting for being of brick, also the material of the clerestorey.
The later fifteenth century octagonal font (the only medieval fitting), the incised alabaster stone to William de Tidde and the two eighteenth-century Trafford wall memorials are important.
Surveys have identified Pipistrelle species present at the church, with a definite maternity roost found and possible hibernation roost. Roosting occurs in gaps in roof timbers.
Brown Long-eared bats are also present, and are thought to use the church for feeding, as a night roost and possibly as a hibernation roost. Roosting also occurs in gaps in roof timbers, and in the roof apex. Both bat species access the church through door gaps.
The church community lives in harmony with the bats and although the bats create mess, the church is immaculately clean.
The project helped and advised the church community on conservation cleaning, holding a mini-masterclass which was very popular.