The church is dedicated to St Edith. We believe this was St Edith of Tamworth because of Lincolnshire’s trade links with the West Midlands in the 10th Century. Domesday 1086 records there being a mill, and five landowners at Coates. A public footpath leads across to fields towards Squires Bridge where there are earth mounds and ridge and furrow fields, suggesting the church served that community.
There are records of the church being built in the late 11th Century and then given by Peter of Coates to the Premonstratensian Order at Welbeck Abbey around 1150AD. A Grange was established (Now a farmhouse) beside the extensive and well-defined medieval village.
There is a Norman doorway decorated with rare bold chip star carving, a lead lined tub font (probably the oldest feature of the church), Norman window and north wall, a holy water stoup and a stone altar with seven consecration crosses.
The bell cote is Georgian. One of the two bells is dated 1704. the other is 15th Century, possibly from an original tower.
There is an Early English blocked tower arch which may have led to a now vanished west tower, alternatively, a tower may have been planned but never actually built. Fracture lines in the north and south walls repaired with more regular stone, suggest the tower collapsed to the west.
15th Century alabaster tomb-slabs commemorate Henry Hansard, Lord of Coates, and his wives. A fragment of medieval glass shows the Hansard crest.
The magnificent rood screen and loft, which dates from the 15th Century is the most complete example surviving in the county. The painted rood (Cross) has been removed but the halo around Mary’s head is still visible. Winding stone stairs lead to the rood loft. The carved pulpit was retrieved from a barn where it had been hidden for safety. The worn bench pews also from the 15th Century, have carved “Poppy heads”.
During the Reformation the church with surrounding land, was acquired by the Butler family. Their presence contributed to preservation of the Rood screen. Beautifully detailed brass memorials are dedicated to the family. The silver chalice and paten given by the Butlers is still in use but not kept in the church. The family box pew stands at the back of the church.
The faded Royal Arms of Charles I (1635) escaped destruction during the civil war.
Externally, recent removal of cracked rendering revealed several blocked doors and windows. The stone walls (N,E & S) have been repointed with lime mortar.