All Saints’ Church

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All Saint’s Church is a typical parish church surrounded by an ancient churchyard, which at the end of January was covered with winter aconites and snowdrops.

It is a big church for quite a small village with a tall battlemented and pinnacled tower and long nave with small side aisles and a chancel. It is built from rough limestone rubble, apart from the chancel which was completely rebuilt in the late C19th using carefully shaped blocks.

There has been a church here since the C12th and the north arcade is all that is left of the Norman church. The rest of the church dates from the C13th, although the tower and clerestory were added in the C15th and the nave windows enlarged then.

By the C19th, the church was in a poor state of repair and restoration was funded by the Lady of the Manor, Charlotte Meynell-Ingran. Her husband had died in a hunting accident in 1871 and she had no children. She employed Bodely and Garner to restore the church in memory of her husband, with Burlison and Grylls responsible for the stained glass. Although he is buried in the church at Hoar Cross, there is an effigy of him in the nave. Work was continued by her nephew Francis and he was responsible for funding much of the stained glass in the nave.

The nave was restored and a new chancel built in the Decorated style. This complements the rest of the inside of the church.

The inside of the church is a good example of the work of Bodley and Garne with it painted ceiling, rood screen and massive reredos behind the altar.

It is a lovely church with round pillars and round arches separating the nave from the narrow north aisle. The tops of the pillars are carved, all with different designs. The south arcade is later and has octagonal pillars and pointed arches. At the end of the narrow south aisle is a small chapel with stone altar and C13th pillar piscina.

Separating the nave and chancel is a lovely wooden rood screen with carving picked out in gold paint. Above is a crucifix Virgin Mary and St John on either side. In front of it is a carved wooden pulpit with shields with IHS.

The IHS monogram is also seen on the painted roof in the nave. This has a king post construction with gilded bosses. The narrow side aisles have stars painted on the roof.

The chancel contains two small choir stalls, still with their candle sticks. Hanging from the ceiling is a cast iron candelabra which is still used. Electric lighting is provided by uplighters on the top of the walls.

Steps lead up to the altar with a carving of the Meynell arms in front of the steps. Behind the altar on the east wall is a massive stone reredos. In front of this and covering nearly all of the wall is a glorious painted Triptych. This has recently been restored and looks magnificent. In the centre is a painting of the crucifixion with abbots or prophets on the side panels, set in gilded ogee aches.

The tomb to Hugo Francis Maynel -Ingram is set between the first bay of the north arcade. Behind it is the church bier which now has village the Book of Remembrance on it. Opposite is a C16th table tomb chest of William and his son George D’Alison. On the top os a C14th brass, which was reset above the tomb. This shows the figure of a knight in armour with his feet resting on a lion, set under an ogee arch.

Much the stained glass in the church dates from the late C19th or early C20th. Much of the original glass was removed in the early C19th by the Vicar of nearby Messingham church who ‘collected’ it for his church. The angels in the clerestory windows and the Virgin and child at the end of the south aisle date from the end of the C19th. The rest is early C20th.

This tells the story of the life of Jesus. The nativity is in the south aisle, presentation at the temple in the north aisle and baptism in the west window beneath the tower. The windows in the chancel show the Resurection and Pentecost.

The two windows at the back of the nave show bishops and saints. The two windows at the front of the nave have the Meynell-Ingram coats of arms.

This is a very attractive church. It doesn’t feature in Simon Jenkin’s “England’s Thousand Best Churches” and gets few visitors. This is a shame as it repays visiting. The church is kept locked but a key is available from the Office of the primary school opposite. There is parking outside on the road.

There are more pictures “here.”:


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