All Saints - Theddingworth, Leicestershire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 52° 27.935 W 001° 01.116
30U E 634601 N 5814669
Quick Description: Medieval church of All Saints, Theddingworth.
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/23/2019 2:13:52 AM
Waymark Code: WM108YB
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member pmaupin
Views: 1

Long Description:
Medieval church of All Saints, Theddingworth.

"Before 1150 Ralph pincerna granted the church of Theddingworth to Alcester Abbey (Warws.). This was probably a gift for life only, for soon afterwards Ralph's son Robert gave it to Leicester Abbey. Leicester ordained a vicarage. The low value of the vicarage has encouraged nonresidence and vicars with private incomes, particularly those fond of hunting. It has been held in plurality by a neighbouring incumbent since 1937.

The ancient parish of Theddingworth included Hothorpe (Northants.). About 1155 John Maleda, the lord of Hothorpe, confirmed the gift by his tenants of one acre from each virgate to the mother church of Theddingworth for the maintenance of the chapel at Hothorpe. Nothing more is known about this chapel. It had certainly disappeared from living memory by 1626.

The advowson of the vicarage belonged to Leicester Abbey until the Dissolution. It then passed to Sir Ralph Rowlett (d. 1571) who had acquired the impropriate rectory, and from him followed the descent of the manor established by William Brocas (d. 1601). The Newdigate family, his successors, appear to have alienated the right of presentation for one turn in 1693 to Moses Bathurst (d. 1705) of Hothorpe Hall. Sir Thomas Cave (d. 1778) succeeded to the manor in 1736 by the right of his wife Elizabeth who had presented to the vicarage in 1723, but when he sold the manor in 1744 he reserved the advowson for his own heirs. The Caves of Stanford continued in possession until c. 1800 when they appear to have sold the advowson to John Cook (d. 1867) of Hothorpe Hall. Cook presented his brother to the living in 1810. Henry Everett sold the Hothorpe estate in 1881 to Sir Humphrey de Trafford (d. 1886), a Roman Catholic. The advowson was therefore reserved and later sold by Everett to Henry Merceron (d. 1905) of Tangley, near Andover (Hants). The latter's son F. H. Merceron (d. 1941) presented to the living in 1926, and in 1960 the advowson belonged to J. F. Merceron, of Newbold-on-Avon (Warws.). Since 1926 all presentations have been made by the bishop through lapse.

In 1291 the annual value of the rectory was £10, from which a pension of 13s. 4d. was paid to the Abbot of Leicester. In 1535 the gross value was £10. In 1650 the rectory was valued at £80, but the vicarage was worth only £42 a year 'in the best times'. In 1713 the vicar was allotted 48 a. of glebe at the inclosure. In 1831 the profits of the glebe and rent-charges in lieu of tithes amounted to £170 a year, but by the end of the 19th century the vicarage was considered worth little more than £100 a year. The vicarage house and barns were always described in late-17th-century glebe terriers but Throsby in 1790 suggested that Mr. Nethercote's house 'would make a good parsonage house'. In the absence of resident vicars since 1935, the 18thcentury Vicarage was sold, and in 1961 it was known as 'Tall Trees'. It dates from the late 18th century when it was a simple rectangular building of three stories with a hipped roof. The principal front faced south and on this side two tall three-sided bays were added early in the following century. Later alterations included the insertion of a wooden balcony between the bays and the building of an east wing.

In 1346 Edmund Trussell endowed a chantry in Theddingworth church with 2 messuages, a virgate of land, and 40s. rent. A field of 8 a. called Chantry Close belonged to Joseph Hayes (d. 1831) at the beginning of the 19th century. His trustees sold it to John Cook and it was absorbed into the Hothorpe estate.

The vicars appointed by Leicester Abbey appear to have been resident in Theddingworth, but soon after the Reformation non-residence was common. The vicar in 1576, Leonard Ward, lived in Oxford, and in 1619 the vicar's house at Theddingworth was reported to be 'most insufficient'. All the vicars from 1841 until 1935 were resident. Thomas James (d. 1863) was responsible for the appeal which enabled the church to be restored in 1857–8, and both his successors, the Revd. F. H. Sutton (d. 1888), vicar 1864–73, and T. Ellis Everett (d. 1890), vicar 1873–88, made further alterations. Thomas Plant, vicar 1913–26, after 1918 also held the vicarage of Lubenham in plurality, but he lived at Theddingworth. After the resignation of W. G. Merrilees in 1935, the benefice was vacant until 1937 when C. H. Welti, Vicar of North Kilworth, was authorized to hold it in plurality. Similarly in 1954 B. M. Peake, Vicar of Lubenham since 1947, was authorized to hold the benefice of Theddingworth.

The church of ALL SAINTS, built of ironstone and limestone, consists of chancel, clerestoried nave, north and south aisles terminating in side chapels to the chancel, north and south porches, and west tower with spire. The earliest remaining features are the north arcade, the archway between chancel and north chapel, and the cylindrical font; these date from the 12th century. The north arcade of five bays has round arches of a single order resting on circular piers with square abaci and high 'water-holding' bases. The capitals are all of different design, some scalloped, one having stiff-leaf foliage, and one upright overlapping leaves. The round-headed arch in the north wall of the chancel, which is similar in character to those of the arcade, indicates the existence of a north chapel in the 12th century. It has been suggested that part of the west wall of the north chapel, where it projects beyond the north aisle, and the core of the tower may also be of Norman date.

The south arcade of four bays is of the early 13th century; it has semi-circular arches of two orders resting on quatrefoil piers with moulded capitals. The easternmost arch extends beyond the west face of the chancel arch, suggesting that, when the arcade was built, it was intended to move the chancel arch further forward. There are several features in the chancel dating from the later 13th century: the chancel arch itself, a much-restored window in the south wall, and the piscina, of which the base is original. The east window is late 13th century in style but was inserted during the 19th-century restoration of the church. Rubble walling in the external angle between chancel and south chapel is similar to 13th-century walling found elsewhere in the district.

Both aisles were probably rebuilt in the 14th century. They have moulded plinths of this period and two-light square-headed windows, much renewed, with sunk-chamfered jambs. The south doorway, with a depressed ogee head and ovolo-moulded jambs, is probably a 17th-century insertion, although this form of arch is sometimes found in work of the 14th century. The south porch has a semi-circular arch and probably dates from the 18th century. The clerestory is an addition of the late 14th or early 15th century. The windows are of two lights except for the easternmost window on the north side which is circular and has flowing tracery; it may have been used to light the rood. A rood-loft stair still exists on this side of the chancel arch and the insertion of a rood screen evidently accounts for some defacing of the arch itself.

The tower, of ironstone with limestone dressings, was built in the 15th century and rises in three stages to an embattled parapet. The slender octagonal spire, with two tiers of lights, is of limestone ashlar and has low broaches at its base. There are shallow clasping buttresses up to the belfry stage, which has angle gargoyles and tall two-light openings with transoms. The west window in the lowest stage is similar but has no transom. Internally the tower arch has capitals with typical early Perpendicular mouldings.

The south chapel appears to have been rebuilt in the 15th century. An arch between it and the chancel, if original, is of this date, but its stonework is either modern or much re-tooled. The two windows in the chapel are of Perpendicular character. The north, or Hothorpe, chapel in its present form dates largely from the 16th century. It was formerly partitioned off by wooden screens, both in the Norman opening to the chancel and in the small arch connecting it with the north aisle. By the end of the 18th century a continuous low-pitched roof covered both the chapel and the north side of the chancel. The chapel is now used partly as a vestry and contains a Snetzler organ of 1754.

The church was restored in 1857–8 by G. G. (later Sir Gilbert) Scott. The whole building was re-roofed and the north porch was built. Other work by Scott includes the sedilia, altar, and reredos; the pulpit is said to have come from Venice. Two armchairs of c. 1650 remain in the chancel and there are re-used traceried panels and bench-ends of 15thcentury date incorporated in the seating of the nave and aisles. The font had in 1798 a high 'Gothic' wooden canopy; the present elaborate canopy, in a similar style, dates from 1893 and is the work of G. F. Bodley.

An ancient wooden dug-out chest with iron bindings remains in the north aisle. Nearby hangs a painted charity board of 1785. The tower clock, by Tucker of London, dates from 1871.

Of the two monuments in the Hothorpe chapel, one is a large two-tier alabaster tomb with recumbent figures in late Elizabethan costume. It is said to be, from the arms displayed, the tomb of George Chambre of Petton (sometime owner of Hothorpe Hall) and his wife. The figures are flanked by Corinthian columns supporting an entablature. Four small figures of children occupy the lower front panel. The other memorial is a mural alabaster monument to George Bathurst (d. 1656) and his wife. It consists of half-length figures each set in front of an oval recess and to the right and left of the inscription are the arms of Bathurst impaling Villiers and Burneby respectively. Kneeling figures of their 13 sons and 4 daughters occupy a lower panel.

An imposing marble monument in the south chapel is to Griffith Davies, M.D. (d. 1722), and his wife. A large undated monument by R. Hayward filling the west end of the south aisle and portraying the life-size figures of the Revd. Slaughter Clarke (1738– 65) and his widow was erected by the latter in 1772. Other memorials in the church include a tablet to the Revd. William French Major (d. 1842) by T. Yates of Market Harborough. Stained glass in the chancel east window (1858) is in memory of Thomas and Isabel Lovell; other windows commemorate the Revd. T. James (d. 1863), his wife (d. 1860), and the Revd. T. Ellis Everett (d. 1890).

The churchyard was closed for burials in 1890, except for existing family vaults. The lych-gate on the north-west side of the churchyard was given by W. S. Sutherland in 1897. The church plate includes a silver cup and two patens, dated 1720, the gift of Dr. Griffith Davies (d. 1722) in 1722, and a silver flagon, the gift of the Revd. F. H. Sutton, probably in 1866. Later additions include a flagon of 1915 in memory of W. S. Sutherland. There were three bells in 1790, four in the 19th century, and a fifth was added in 1873. They are: (i) 1595; (ii) 1615, by Hugh Watts of Leicester; (iii) n.d.; (iv) 1757, by Thomas Eayre of Kettering; (v) 1873, by John Taylor of Loughborough. The third has the shield of Newcombe of Leicester and is of c. 1560. The fifth was recast in 1903 at the expense of W. S. Sutherland and the whole peal was re-hung. The registers begin in 1635, with a break from 1642 to 1651."

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Building Materials: Stone

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