Devotees of these pages will know my predilection for the tiny, unsophisticated churches lost in the depths of the countryside and which I like to call “Farmyard Churches” because they are nearly always close to a farm - as indeed is Coates-by-Stow. Coates is a close neighbour to the church of Stow-in-Lindsay which is an altogether grander and historically more important church.
Coates couldn’t be humbler. There is very little known of its history. Its chancel windows (restored) and the font are Norman, whereas the south doorway appear to be Transitional, so we can date the church as being built between, say, AD1180-1220. A real dog’s breakfast of Gothic windows was added subsequently with no regard for consistency or aesthetics. The parish must have simply paid for whatever the mason was most capable of producing.
In the west wall, visible both inside and out, there is an “orphaned” arch that Pevsner suggests is early C13, reinforcing the building’s likely turn of the twelfth century building date. There is no sign of there ever having been a tower so it looks as if this was an aborted project. The bellcote is modern.
It is the interior of the church, however, that is the principal interest here. It is totally dominated by its original rood screen which is complete with