Little Casterton has a population of only about 150 souls. It is a mile or so from where I live in the much larger village of Ryhall. You would call Little Casterton a “hamlet” but for the fact that it has a church and is, therefore, officially a village! Having said that, I drove through it dozens of time before I realised there was a church at all, so concealed is it from the village’s only road. Less than a mile away is the famous open air theatre at Tolethorpe Hall so if you want a diversion on your way to the play then this little church is ideal - but contact the rector first because this is a a church that is not always open.
To be honest, I struggle to find anything to list as its “Principal Features”. So why include it? I certainly have dozens of much more celebrated churches waiting to “written up”. But that’s what I love about Little Casterton: it is small, humble, little-known, rather chaotic - and yet full of curiosities. It epitomises the “secret” churches that (understandably) didn’t make it into Simon Jenkins’s book but which have so much to offer to those who dare to look outside the confines of the “recommended” lists. It is a sort of antidote to overdosing on a diet of its more celebrated cousins and neighbours.
Little Casterton is a mainly c13 church. It has no tower but a typical Rutland bellcote with an Early English style to them. We can be sure that the first church here was Norman, however, for mounted on the north aisle wall is a Norman tympanum, presumably from the original south doorway. Pevsner puts the North arcade at about 1200 and its