St. Michael and All Angels Church, Bassingham

St Michael and All Angels Church is set at the heart of the medium sized compact and popular village of Bassingham whose origins can be traced back to a Saxon settlement. The derivation of the name appears to be “the stream of Basa’s people”.

St Michael and all Angels Church is primarily a 13C church which has undergone a number of significant restorations. The Domesday Book records a church and a priest in 1086 on land owned by King William 1st. This written record is supported in archaeological records by two fragments of Anglo-Saxon grave covers discovered buried in the church during major restoration work in 1861. These are now placed next to the altar and are used as a table for the sacraments. The East window is a significant piece of stained glass presented to the church in 1939 and designed by Munich artist W F Zettler. It shows St Michael, flanked by the Archangels Gabriel and Raphael. Two further memorial windows were installed in 1948 and 1949 in the Lady Chapel end of the South Aisle, one depicting the Annunciation, the other Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane. The peel of six bells is well known in the area and was refurbished about ten years ago. They attract parties of bell ringers from across the country.

The church is situated on the banks of the river Witham at the Southern end of the village. Views from the riverbank stretch over neighbouring farmland and this area of the churchyard provides a peaceful setting for people to reflect. During the Pandemic, the community has made significant use of this facility and the church building to support their well-being and health.

Bassingham is a thriving village with a popular village primary school;

pre-school; two village shops one incorporating the village Post Office; two public houses and restaurants; a large and modern village hall facility; a family play area and large open football and cricket areas with hardcourt areas for tennis. There is also a modern surgery with an integrated pharmacy serving the local community. Bassingham is expanding and there are plans for a further development of houses on the periphery of the village.

Within this context St Michael’s Church has an important role as a place of worship where the community can have access to God in whatever way is appropriate for them. For some this is regular Sunday worship. For others, the building provides a focus at times of significance for example the service for Loved Ones departed or Remembrance Day. The close proximity of Witham St Hughs means that St Michaels also provides a natural focus for many families in Witham St Hughs for weddings, baptisms, and funerals.

Large scale Festival services, which are always well attended, at Easter, Harvest and Christmas bring yet more people into contact with the Christian faith and the word of God and however brief, often it is these events that provide a spark that lights up a thought or an insight that lives on in their lives. Live streaming of services during the pandemic has dramatically increased the number of people accessing Sunday worship and this will continue as part of our mission strategy. Finally, as a place for contemplation the church building provides an oasis of calm and peace and many people in the community use the church for this purpose.