Isaac Newton Learning Centre

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St John the Baptist Church Colsterworth cont’d

1st January. Poignantly, the page of the register recording these events also shows the death of his father, Isaac senior, two months earlier in October 1642.

Isaac was a generous benefactor to the church, paying for a gallery (removed during a reordering of the church in1876) and repairs to the floor.  Among the communion plate held by the church are a patten and chalice, hallmarked 1678 and1679, which are thought to have been given by Newton in memory of his mother.

The reordering of the church in 1876 focused on the chancel and included ‘the reinstatement of the Newton Manorial Aisle’. The work was carried out under the guidance of the architect, Mr Fowler of Louth, and incorporated a memorial to Newton’s parents and a sundial carved by Newton when he was just nine years old.

A memorial to William Walker, a former master of the grammar school in Grantham and former rector of Colsterworth, with an inscription thought to have been written by Newton ‘Hic jacent Walkeri particulae’, still exists but was not incorporated in the reordered chancel.

The 1876 reordering also saw the replacement of the font basin, the original of which was apparently cracked.  Other replacements and decorations were the stained glass windows, a magnificent reredos under the east window, two hatchments commemorating members of the Mirehouse family, largely responsible for the reordering, and a Minton tiled floor in the chancel. The pine pews date from this time.  

The Mirehouse coat of arms is carved into the eastern wall and features in all the stained glass in the chancel.

In 1897, a pipe organ, built by Vowles of Bristol, was installed in the north aisle of the chancel, sadly masking the Newton sundial and the memorial to his parents.  The eastern end now serves as the vestry.

On the south-facing wall of the church, there is a sundial attributed as being a gift from Newton.  Similar sundials can be seen at the churches in North Witham and Market Overton, both of which have associations with Newton’s mother, Hannah Ayscough.   On the outer walls of the building there are numerous masons’ marks, faces carved into the north and south walls of the tower, and geometric symbols to the three external walls of the tower.

Outside, the churchyard has been closed for over 100 years. There are two grade 2 listed chest tombs from the early C18th.  The early C19th gates, gate piers and railings bordering the Great North Road are also grade 2 listed.

This church building has evolved over twelve centuries. With its links to the Newton family, it is not just of national importance but of great international significance.