St Bartholomew - Sproxton, Leicestershire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 52° 48.898 W 000° 43.832
30U E 652944 N 5854101
Quick Description: Medieval church of St Bartholomew, Sproxton.
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/6/2019 4:29:10 AM
Waymark Code: WM10B8V
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member pmaupin
Views: 0

Long Description:
"Sproxton is a composite name formed of Norse and Saxon elements, meaning that the place is 'Sprok's tun', 'Sprok' being an Old Swedish personal name, while 'tun' is the Old English for a manor or estate, from which the present-day word 'town' derives. The Domesday Book of 1086 refers to this place as 'Sprotone', but the present-day spelling is first recorded as early as 1166. There are several mentions of Sprotone in the Domesday Book. The chief landholder was Hugh Musard, who held 8 carucates of land from the Countess Judith. Within this context, there is mention of a mill which was valued at 4s., a meadow of 40 acres, 16 freemen and 5 villagers. Two other landholders in Sprotone were Godfrey de Cambrai and Warin. Godfrey held 2 carucates from the king, and this land included a meadow of four acres and a mill worth 5s 4d. On his land were 7 freemen, a villager and a smallholder. Warin held 3 carucates from Guy de Craon which included a meadow of 15 acres, and on which was a mill worth 4s. His men were 7 freemen and a villager. It will be noted that the names of the landowners are Norman or French, and is indicative that the original English landowner, Algar, had been ejected from his holding. Whether Algar or any other ejected Englishmen stayed here or moved elsewhere is open to question. The total of 38 men with their wives and children amounting to perhaps 150 or more people, suggests that Sproxton was quite well populated at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. Although Domesday makes no mention of a church, there is reference to a priest in Sproxton. Two facts however support an early presence of Christianity in the village. The first is the Anglo-Norse wheel-headed cross, probably of the C10 or early C11, which stands in the churchyard, though this does not necessarily denote the existence of a church building. The other is the piece of stone in the west wall of the church's south aisle, which displays Norman zig-zag moulding of the second part of the C12, and which indicates that there was a church in existence at this time. The church at Sproxton was not destined to remain an independent rectorate. In 1162 a house of Premonstratensian canons was established only 3 miles away at Croxton, and the abbey's foundation charter mentions a third part of Sproxton church being given to it by Hugh de Boby (who held a third part of the manor by this time). In King John's reign (1199-1216) the other two thirds of the manor were given to a knight called Achard, who took his surname from this place, and who gave the other two thirds of the church to St Andrew's Priory in Northampton. Relations between the de Bobys and the de Sproxtons must have been adverse, with the de Sproxtons enjoying royal favour, but the de Bobys coming out in support of Magna Carta and Simon De Montfort. In 1270 or thereabouts, Sir Achard de Sproxton's grandson, Sir John, was somehow able to renounce his grandfather's benefaction to St Andrew's Priory, and bestow it upon Croxton Abbey instead. He also acquired the lordship of Sproxton Boby by exchange of lands. These deeds gave the abbot and convent of Croxton full appropriation of Sproxton church and its possessions, which was eventually confirmed by a Papal Bull in 1310. The first vicar known by name was Theobald, and he was in possession of his office in 1208. We can be reasonably certain that he was probably the first of Croxton's appointees as vicar, under the terms of Hugh de Boby's gift to the abbey of one third of the church. Croxton Abbey and St Andrew's Priory would have taken it in turns to present the vicar until 1288, when the name Richard of Redmile occurs. Richard remained as vicar until 1320, and he was probably the first to be appointed under the terms of Croxton's full appropriation of Sproxton church. From this time until the suppression of the monasteries, the abbot and convent of Croxton presented vicars to Sproxton. After the surrender of the abbey on 8 September 1539. Sproxton church came into the possession of the Earls (Dukes from 1703) of Rutland, who thenceforth presented the vicars. Recently, the Tollemache family of Buckminster has shared patronage of the living with the Duke of Rutland. William Dand was appointed vicar of Sproxton in 1695, resigning his post in 1704 to become vicar of the neighbouring parish of Saltby. William Holden was made vicar of Sproxton four days after Dand's resignation, and he held this appointment until 1716 when Dand vacated the Salt by living. Holden was appointed as vicar of Salt by, a post he held in addition to that of Sproxton. Since 1716 the two livings have been joined, except for a short period a few years ago when Sproxton was temporarily united to Buckminster.

The Church Building -
Click (visit link) for a plan of the church The church and churchyard are situated in an isolated position on rising ground to the north east of the village. In his 'History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester' (1794) John Nichols remarked 'The CHURCH, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, stands high, and much exposed to the West; it is nearly a quarter of a mile from any house, and double that distance from the greatest part of the town, yet the inhabitants are remarkable for their constant attendance on divine worship'. The church owes its isolated position to having been built for the lord's convenience, close to his manor house '...which mansion, from tradition, was situated on the brow of the hill near the church, where foundations, rubbish, and motes of a large extent are yet visible; and the situation has not been unpleasant', according to Nichols.

Its growth -
As mentioned above, there was a church in Sproxton at least as early as the second half of the C12. Probably this consisted of an aisleless nave of about the same dimensions as today, but with a much shorter chancel than at present. The lower part of the west tower dates from c. 1200, when as a two-storey structure, probably crowned with a pyramidal cap, it was joined onto the earlier Norman building. In the C13 the church was widened by the addition of a south aisle, separated from the nave by an arcade of three arches. This aisle was probably added to provide space for a chantry chapel at its eastern end, for in return for Sir john de Sproxton's gift of two thirds of the church, and for other benefactions, two canons of Croxton were '...to reside in Sproxton in the house Sir John had provided for them, and to celebrate divine service daily in the church of Sproxton, and to pray especially for the souls of the said Sir John and Alice his wife'. The chancel was probably extended to its present length while the aisle was being added, i.e. in the late C13. Work done in the next century was the erection of the south porch and the replacement of one or two windows in the nave and aisle. But more importantly, the tower was raised by a further storey, Professor Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-83) in the Leicestershire volume of the 'Buildings of England' ascribing a late C14 date for the style of the tower's top stage. The C15 was clearly a time when much further work was done to the church. The arcade was rebuilt to support a clerestory. Other work done in this century was the replacement of three of the south aisle windows. Except for the insertion of a now vanished gallery at the west end of the nave, little more seems to have been done until the C19. The top stage of the tower, south porch and chancel arch were restored, and the nave roof in greater part replaced. A new roof was put on the chancel and its east window renewed. Parapets were added to the chancel, clerestory and aisles, and gable crosses placed on the chancel and nave. Additions were also made to the south side of the church. This involved making a new vestry to the east, and an organ chamber between the new vestry and east wall of the south aisle. This was all the work of the Victorian architect Henry Woodyer (1816-96) of Guildford, in 1882-3, the cost being defrayed by the then vicar, the Reverend A.W. Booker. A condition of the church's restoration was that those parts of the church referred to in the faculty for the restoration as being 'in a most dilapidated condition' should faithfully reproduce the features of the old work. The only development of note in the C20 was to convert the organ chamber into a room for storage and to reposition the instrument at the east end of the south aisle."

SOURCE & further reading - (visit link)
Building Materials: Stone

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