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All Saints parish church
There seems to have been a church here since Anglo-Saxon times as half an Anglo-Saxon grave slab has been incorporated into the south wall. The early churches were probably built of timber with thatched roofs. Nothing apart from from the grave slab appears to have survived from before the thirteenth century.
Half of an Anglo-Saxon tomb cover.
Most of the visible parts of All Saints church date from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, or from extensive restorations in 1852 and 1870. The architectural designs span Early English and Perpendicular Gothic styles. Construction uses both ironstone and limestone. External details of interest include a medieval door on the south side of the chancel and a blocked north door.
The south elevation.
A humorous hoodstop for one of the south windows depicts a head that seems to have been pushed out of place by the adjacent buttress.
The mid-fourteenth century octagonal font includes splendid carving. The interlaced vine branches are inhabited by no less than twenty faces. Inside the hollowed-out shaft is a monkey on a chain. Fettered monkeys traditionally symbolize humans entrapped by earthly and sensual desires.
More about monkeys in art.
Until 1522 the dedication was to All Hallows. The change to All Saints is consistent with the Protestant Reformation.
During the 1560s the Reformation really took effect in Barrowby. Although there is no record, very likely statues of saints were removed or decapitated and any wall paintings defaced in the 1530s or 1540s. The 'mass book' and other liturgical books were cut to pieces in 1560. The rood screen and loft were seemingly removed in 1561. While the screen was safely stored the loft was sawn up to make seats in 1564. In 1565 the churchwarden's accounts record the sale of a cross, candlestick and a pair of censers. These were broken up and melted down. The following year a pair of handbells was sold, probably also for their metal content. (Cryer 1979 p14)
The chancel screen incorporates most of the original medieval rood screen. Only the centre section is late nineteenth century.
The oldest bell was cast by Robert Quernbie and Henry Oldfield in the late fifteenth century. The next-oldest has a dedication dated 1712. Three more are dated 1774. A sixth was cast by John Taylor of Loughborough in 1897.
Source: Cryer 1979 p31.
Nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Like a great many parish churches the length and breadth of England, parish churches fell into disrepair during the seventeenth century. By the 1820s radicial restorations were needed. And radical they would be – in all senses – as this was the start of the Oxford Movement and the Cambridge Camden Society. Architectural historians refer to the 'Gothic Revival'. By the 1850s this initially radical style had become what everyone expected their parish church to look like.
For more information about the early stages of the Gothic Revival see this YouTube video about the innovative work of A.W.N. Pugin at Wymeswold in Leicestershire in the 1830s.
There were substantial restorations in 1854 and 1889 (when the south aisle was re-roofed). An organ chamber and vestry were added in 1870.
Full details of the architectural history are included in the Listed buildings description.
The east window.
The stained glass windows were installed successively in ?1884, 1898, 1904, 1913, 1935, 1937 and 1956. What appear to be fragments of medieval glass survive in one window in the north aisle.
Sadly some or all the windows were damaged by the blast from a German bomb during the Second World War and needed to be restored.
The reredos was installed in 1920. It was donated by Lady Mostyn.
Mary and the infant Jesus are in the centre with (left to right) St Augustine, St George, St Michael and St Hugh.
The Grade II listed lych gate and railing, dating from about 1891, was paid for by the Reverend G.E. Welby.
Two of the Charnwood slate gravestones.
Many of the tombs and gravestones on the south side of the church have been listed (see more information about the church and memorials). I have written a separate article about the eighteenth century Charnwood slate memorials.
Clergy and clerks
L.R. Cryer compiled a comprehensive list of the names of clergy and parish clerks (Cryer 1979 p50–2).
More information about the church and memorials
Wikipedia (N.B. multipe errors!)
Place of worship
As well as being of great architectural and historical interest, for all the centuries there has been a church on this site there has been Christian worship. For details of services, pastoral assistance, social events and bellringing visit All Saints web pages.
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Copyright Bob Trubshaw 2021
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Articles about BarrowbyBarrowby's location and geology
Seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
Articles and web links for nearby places
rare seventeenth fonts at Muston, Bottesford and Orston from Project Gargoyle Newsletter 2020
Ironstone quarries of Leicestershire
The Grantham Canal
Croxton Kerrial manor house excavations