Font - All Saints Church - Pickwell - Leicestershire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Norfolk12
N 52° 41.650 W 000° 50.386
30U E 645987 N 5840439
A fine grade I listed Building in this conservation area.
Waymark Code: WMDKTJ
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 01/27/2012
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 4

Pickwell is a small village 5 miles south-east of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire.The parish church is All Saints and its tower was built in the 15th century with earlier features dating from the 13th century.

The church of ALL SAINTS consists of chancel, clerestoried nave with north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower. It is built of ironstone with limestone dressings, except for the 15th-century tower which is of grey limestone ashlar. The only visible remains of the Norman church are a fragment of ornament which has been built into the north clerestory and the tub-shaped font, carved with chevrons and intersecting arcades.

The earliest feature in the fabric of the church is the north arcade which dates from the early 13th century. This is of four bays and has semi-circular arches and circular piers with 'water-holding' bases and carved capitals; one of the central capitals has foliated ornament. The arcade originally extended one bay further east, which may indicate the existence of a former chapel, now demolished, at the east end of the north aisle. The blocked arch to this fifth bay is still visible, both internally and externally, in the north wall of the chancel. The north aisle itself appears to have been rebuilt in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The windows in the north wall include two of two cusped pointed lights with an encircled quatrefoil in each head; a third has three lights with intersecting tracery. The aisle contains three low-arched tomb recesses. Extensive building operations in the earlier 14th century included the building of the south aisle with its fourbay arcade, the reconstruction of the chancel, and, finally, the addition of a clerestory to the nave. The south arcade has pointed arches of two chamfered orders which spring from slender circular piers with carved capitals. A curious feature is a blocked lancet opening which is visible on the south side of the short stretch of wall which continues the line of the arcade at its east end. It has been suggested that this may represent a very narrow doorway to a rood-loft stair; alternatively it may have been an early-13thcentury window in the external wall of the church before the aisle was built. The south doorway has shafted jambs and carved capitals. These capitals and those of the porch arch have profiles which correspond to those of the south arcade. In general the south aisle is a more elaborate structure than the north: externally the buttresses have trefoil ornament at string level and deep niches above. The aisle contains two arched recesses for tombs and a pointed piscina with broached stops to the jambs. One altered window with forking tracery remains in the south wall but both ends of the aisle were altered in the 15th century. The early-14th-century chancel has three windows with curvilinear tracery, one now blocked. Externally the south wall has a continuous string which forms part of the hoodmould of the priest's door, is stepped down further west to sill level, and raised again at the junction of chancel and south aisle. The buttresses on this wall may have been added later. Considerable re-facing with grey limestone has taken place externally, possibly in the 15th century, and this is most noticeable on the north chancel wall. The present large east window is modern, replacing one of similar proportions, the pointed head of which had been blocked by the late 18th century. A nearby buttress is dated 1774. The chancel contains triple-stepped sedilia with pointed heads, and a round-headed piscina with its bowl intact. On the east wall there is a carved bracket of the early 14th century. There is no chancel arch and the continuation of the north arcade eastwards from the nave indicates that there has been no structural division between nave and chancel since at least the 13th century. The clerestory, added to the nave towards the middle of the 14th century, has small two-light windows with two types of flowing tracery.
The west tower, probably built early in the 15th century, rises in three stages to an embattled parapet with angle pinnacles and prominent gargoyles. The heavy plinth moulding is continuous round the angle buttresses. The belfry stage has tall paired openings of two transomed lights with traceried heads. The tower arch, opening into the nave, has a hoodmould with carved stops which are similar to those on the small west window in the lowest stage of the tower. Other 15th-century work in the church includes the provision of a low-pitched roof and parapets to the chancel, as well as an embattled parapet to the south aisle. The east wall of the south aisle, with its partially restored window, is of the same period, as is the tall canopied niche at this end of the aisle. It is possible that 15th-century alterations were responsible for the disappearance of the extra bay at the east end of the north aisle. The east end of the aisle has a window of this date and the north wall of the chancel, which contains the blocked arch of the arcade, may well have been reconstructed at the same time.
About 1692 both the church fabric and its furnishings were found to be decayed. In the late 18th century the church was twice examined by the archdeacon, and on both occasions it was found to be generally well-maintained, though minor repairs were ordered.
In 1861 the church was extensively restored; the nave, chancel, and aisles were given new roofs, the south porch and south aisle were much repaired, new pews, pulpit, and reading desk were provided, the plaster was removed from the walls, and the arch between the base of the tower and the nave was opened. It was planned to build a chancel arch, but this was not carried out because the necessary funds were not forthcoming. New choir stalls and a new altar were provided in 1897, and in 1911 the tower and church roof were repaired. On the north wall of the chancel are two memorials, one in the Gothic style of the period to the Revd. John Bright (d. 1843) and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1831), the other, in grey marble, to John Brown (d. 1734) and his wife Mary (d. 1746). Other memorials preserved in the tower commemorate Frances Dickinson (d. 1757) and Edward Muxloe (d. 1795) and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1830); on the south wall of the tower is a more elaborate white marble tablet to Rowland Brown (d. 1712) and his wife Anne (d. 1733). A fine ornamented monument to Lt. Charles J. Harris (d. 1791) was noted by Nichols but no longer remains. Several old grave slabs of stone and alabaster have been reset in the tower floor. A charity board hangs above the tower stair door.

From: 'Pickwell', A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 5: Gartree Hundred (1964), pp. 275-281. URL: (visit link) Date accessed: 31 January 2012.
Approximate Age of Artefact: 13th century

Relevant Website: Not listed

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