St Catharine - Houghton on the Hill, Leicestershire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 52° 37.403 W 001° 00.143
30U E 635217 N 5832250
Quick Description: St Catharine's church, Houghton on the Hill
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/27/2016 3:21:14 AM
Waymark Code: WMQTA8
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Dorcadion Team
Views: 1

Long Description:
"The advowson of Houghton church belonged c. 1220 to the Benedictine abbey of St. Pierre-sur-Dives (Calvados). It had probably been granted by a member of the Ferrers family, who had given lands in both Leicestershire and Warwickshire to the abbey. In 1242 Richard Corbet presented to the living, but in that year or the next he restored the right of presentation to the abbey. In 1266 Robert Corbet disputed the abbey's right to present to the church. He failed to attend the court to prosecute his case and judgement was given to the abbot. Thereafter the right of presentation was exercised by the abbey's proctor in England, the Prior of Wolston (Warws.). Throughout the 14th century the patronage was exercised by the king, during the time of the French wars, and in 1351 the presentation was made by the Abbot of Ramsey. In 1396 the owners decided that the advowson had become so unprofitable to them that they sold it, together with all the endowments of Wolston, to the new Charterhouse of Coventry, founded in 1383 by William de Ferrers. The Carthusians presented until the Dissolution, when the advowson passed to the Crown. It was sold in 1543 to Richard Andrews of Hailes (Glos.) and Nicholas Temple, with a licence to transfer it to Brian Cave of Leicester. It remained in the possession of the Caves until some date between 1706 and 1724, when the presentation of the new rector was made by John Bradgate. In 1738 Bradgate transferred the advowson to George Coulton who was himself presented by Sir William Halford in 1746. , and the advowson passed to his widow's cousin, William Freer (1801-73), for many years the Clerk of the Peace of Leicestershire. In 1855 Freer presented his son W. T. Freer (d. 1889) who remained rector until his death. In 1957 the executors of W. T. Freer still held the advowson; his son-in-law was rector from 1894 to 1928, and his grandson who was instituted in 1948 was rector in 1958. In 1954 Keyham, a chapelry of Rothley, was united with the ecclesiastical parish of Houghton.

In 1217 the rectory was valued at 10 marks, but the value increased to 12 marks in 1254 and 18 marks in 1291. It remained at this figure throughout the Middle Ages, and in 1535 was charged with a pension of £2 a year to the Prior of the Coventry Charterhouse. An enquiry was made in 1260 whether a messuage and 2½ virgates in Houghton belonged to the church or the abbey of St. Pierresur-Dives, but no other evidence of medieval glebe land has been discovered. In 1690 the rector's assets were the parsonage house with its outhouse and a tithe barn. The glebe, which yielded £270 a year in 1831 and was valued at £313 10s. in 1847, was derived from allotments made in compensation for tithes in the inclosure award (1765), about 183 a. The glebe was let at 38s. an acre in 1957. The present Rectory is a large gabled house with stone dressings, standing south-west of the church. It was built in 1856 by the patron, William Freer. The former Rectory, demolished in 1856, stood very near the west end of the church, its principal front facing south-west. It was a long building of two stories, consisting of a central block and two gabled cross-wings. Its windows were of late-17th-century type but the house itself may have been an older structure. In 1690 the extensive outbuildings included a tithe barn of four bays. Gate piers flanking the old entrance survive in the wall on the south-west side of the garden.

The church of ST. CATHARINE stands near the south-west end of the village street. It is built of ironstone with limestone dressings and consists of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north and south porches, and a west tower surmounted by a spire. Thirteenth-century work in the church includes the remains of sedilia in the north aisle, the central window in the south wall of the south aisle, and probably the base of the chancel arch. The font, also of the 13th century, consists of a circular bowl on a square base, the latter surrounded by eight attached shafts, their capitals being alternately moulded and decorated with carved masks. Much of the rest of the church dates from the 14th century. The side windows in the chancel have forking and reticulated tracery. The east window (probably renewed) has later flowing tracery. The tower was probably built late in the 14th century. The belfry windows contain flowing tracery and the tall octagonal spire rises from behind an embattled parapet. The 14th-century north arcade of four bays, which has quatrefoil piers with bold fillets, appears to have been raised in height when the south arcade was built at least 100 years later. The south arcade has composite piers, the mouldings facing north and south being carried down without capitals. The two flanking windows in the south wall of the aisle are 15th-century insertions, each having one jamb of the original 13th-century windows left in position. Late Perpendicular windows have been inserted in the east ends of both aisles. The roofs of about the same date, supported on grotesque stone corbels, are largely original. The small south porch is probably of post-Reformation origin. The north porch was erected in 1874.

Archdeacons' reports in the 17th and 18th centuries complained of many defects in the fabric and fittings, the most serious being dangerous cracks in the tower. In 1776 it was recommended that the tower arch be blocked and access to the belfry provided from the churchyard. By 1832 the church was in good condition, having been recently repaired. Further improvements were made during the next ten years and new fittings were provided. Some ancient carved pews, however, were still in existence in 1846. The chancel was restored and partly rebuilt by the patron, William Freer, in 1857. A medieval chancel screen probably disappeared at this time. In 1874 the north porch was built in memory of William Freer, the architect being Charles Kirk of Sleaford (Lincs.). The chancel windows contain stained glass commemorating members of the Freer family. Considerable restoration work was carried out between 1896, when a new chancel screen was erected, and 1907. The tower was restored in 1897 and the organ, which stands in front of the tower arch, was enlarged in the same year. The sedilia in the north aisle came to light in 1903 and in 1907 two small 14th-century windows were uncovered above the chancel arch. The south aisle was restored in 1902. Several stained glass windows were inserted in the church between 1897 and 1905. The war memorial altar in the north aisle was the gift of Myron Herrick (ambassador of the U.S.A. in Paris, 1914). Near it is a stained glass window to the memory of a descendant of the Heyrick family who died in Minneapolis, U.S.A. The baptistery screen was given in 1938 in memory of Canon S. T. Winckley. The lead on the aisle roofs was replaced by copper in 1952.

A marble cartouche in the south aisle commemorates Mrs. Anne Bent, formerly Newton (d. 1677). Other mural tablets include those in memory of the Revd. R. Coulton (d. 1808), the wife of the Revd. J. S. Coleman (d. 1826), and members of the Sewell family (1827-61), the Thompson family (1751 and 1845), and the Freer and Winckley families (1889- 1925).

There are five bells: (i) 1771; (ii) no date; (iii) 1706; (iv) 1638; (v) 1771. The third bell was given by William Thompson, lord of the manor, and until William Fortrey of King's Norton gave the first bell, the ring consisted of four bells only. The church plate includes a silver cup dated about 1570, and another dated 1636 which was presented in 1683 by the rector, Joseph Birkhead. The registers begin in 1653 and are complete."

SOURCE - (visit link)
Building Materials: Stone

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