War Grave at Swayfield, Lincolnshire

The Church of St Nicholas, Swayfield, is in need of some care and maintenance but is worth a visit nevertheless.

I came here looking for a grave cared for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. That of Aircraftman 1st Class Wilfrid Leslie Atter [Service Number: 1236756] of the RAF, who died on 16 November 1941, aged just 20 years old. The notice of his death in the Lincolshire Echo reads “Airman's Funeral - the funeral of A/C Wilfred Leslie Atter, who was accidentally killed while on active service, took place at his native village of Swayfield (Grantham). A detachment of Airmen, A.T.C. and Home Guards attended. Died of multiple injuries due to an accident at RAF Kinloss. Died at 10:45pm in an incident which also led to the death of 742310 Sgt Alan Davis.”

He was the son of Philip Walter and Grace Atter, of Swayfield.


Turning to the church itself - Parts date to the 12th, 13th and 17th century, with the nave and chancel rebuilt in 1875-8 by F. Goddard. Squared limestone rubble, ashlar quoins and dressings, stone coped Collyweston slate roofs. Western tower, nave, chancel, north aisle. The C13 3 stage tower has clasping buttresses to lower stages and plinth, a chamfered string course and battlemented parapet. The twin pointed bell openings to each face are separated by octagonal moulded shaft and set in a single chamfered surround with hood mould. In the tympanum a carved floriated trefoil. In the south side ground stage is a late C17 rectangular light in chamfered surround with hood mould. To second stage a Y traceried window with moulded circular central shaft and rectangular hood over. The west doorway is pointed with double chamfered arches and hood mould, with octagonal responds and imposts. The upper stages are as the south, the belfry light having a more ornate capital to the central shaft and human heads to the hood. The north side is as the south, the second stage window has nail head decoration and the belfry light has a plain tympanum. The C19 north aisle has 3 pairs of lights with trefoil heads, divided into bays by stepped buttresses. The vestry has a pair of short trefoil headed lights, to the north and a similar taller pair plus pointed doorway to the west. The chancel has a single pointed trefoil headed light with trefoil over, and a similar further window to the south. The east window is of 3 lights with Geometrical tracery and there is a further similar 2 light window to the south chancel wall, repeated 3 times in the nave south wall. Interior. The 3 bay C19 north arcade has pointed double chamfered arches, circular piers and abaci. The chancel arch is pointed and double chamfered, set on squat semi-circular responds with large late C12 imposts. That on the south side is scalloped and reset, the north side is fluted and possibly in situ. In the north wall of the chancel a C19 pointed doorway to the vestry. All fittings are C19 except the font, a C12 circular bowl set on a moulded octagonal base. Monuments. In the west wall of the nave a stone wall plaque to Richard Wing, d.1775, a further plaque to Thomas Gibson, d.1806 and in the aisle west wall a stone plaque with fluted pilasters and pediment to members of the Wilcox family, early C18.