Silhouetted against the grey blue winter Lincolnshire sky, the reains of the once great Kirkstead Abbey point heavenward. All that is left of this abbey is a sad corner of a magnificent building. The original size of this building is hinted at by the beginings of ceiling ribs and window arches which appear to yearn to grow back to their previous splendour.
When seen from the sunlit side the stonework can be seen in all its depressing decay.
The last remains of Kirkstead stand surrounded by a grass field grazhe sied by livestock. The bumpy terrain marks out the Abbeys footings and fish ponds. There is very little left to see here, the pile of stone revealing nothing of the history of the site.
A hundred yards or so further on from the remains of the Abbey is the intact chapel, described as the gate chapel.
The small chapel is quite pretty, and is unusual with its timbered gables. It is kept locked and there is no indication of where a key might be obtained to take a look inside.
The most interesting feature of the chapel is the design of the Western face as viewed above. I have read quite a lot about sexual imagery in the design of religious establishments, but I had never really noticed it before in any building I had visited. The imagery in this chapel I would say is blatant, take a look at the picture below and make your own mind up.
Kirkstead Abbey can be found near Woodhall Spa. Typical of most historic sites in Lincolnshire, it is well hidden and not well signed. A good road map will get you there.
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