St Leonard - Swithland, Leicestershire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 52° 42.623 W 001° 10.806
30U E 622944 N 5841606
Quick Description: St Leonard, a 13th century church church, Swithland
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/9/2018 1:26:43 PM
Waymark Code: WMXWTE
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 0

Long Description:
"Church of C13 and later. Granite and slate rubble stone with Swithland slate roof. W tower of 3 stages, nave, N porch, S aisle with E porch, and chancel. Lower part of tower C13, upper Perp with 2 W clasping buttresses, small C19 W door, original 1 light above, several slits, 4 restored 2 light bell openings and restored crocketted pinnacles and battlements. Two storey C19 stair turret on S side. Nave has C19 N porch and C13 arcades originally similar but N, now blocked, was heightened later in Century. NW arch remains similar to S arcade. Now blocked it leads to N porch. Arcades of 4 bays, S has circular piers and abaci supporting double chamfered arches. 3 bull's eyes windows above."

SOURCE - (visit link)

"The village of Swithland is well known for its slate which is found all over the county and further a field in churchyards as finely etched gravestones and as roof slates. The slate was probably first worked in the 13th century but with the advent of gunpowder the industry rapidly expanded to around 1740 until under competition from Welsh slate the quarries fell into decline and by the end of the 19th century had all but ceased. Today the quarries are now known as Swithland Woods and there are some fine walks around them and the surrounding countryside in this picturesque part of the county which is very popular with walkers and tourists alike.

The long rather sprawling village was mentioned in the Domesday Book when it was given to Hugh de Grentesmainel. The Benedictines at Ware appointed the rectors from 1094 until 1344. The Danvers acquired the manor in 1420 and were involved with the parish until the 19th century, they married into the Butler family and became Earls of Lanesborough.
St Leonard’s consists of a west tower, nave, south aisle and chancel. There have been some additions in 2000 with a very well designed annex on two floors that is accessed through the west tower.

The lower parts of the tower date to the 13th century whilst the rest dates from the 15th century. The pretty south aisle was added by Sir John Danvers in 1727, the north aisle was blocked in and heightened and the west bay has not been re-used. There are some circular and half circular openings in the nave and some of these may date to the earliest church on the site. In the 19th century the east porch was built and according to Pevsner the church was gothicized. There is a 15th century brass in the west wall of Agnes Scott mother of Lady Ferrers with the inscription at the end of this writeup, there are also some other fine memorials in the south aisle including some large slate monuments to the Danvers. The organ inscribed John Snetzler 1765 was the favoured organ builder to George III and John Danvers instructed him to build the instrument for Swithland.

The churchyard is very fine and well cared for, with its lynchgate and views of the church and woods behind it is a ‘picture postcard’ setting. On the east side of the churchyard is the tomb of Sir Joseph Danvers built by John Hind in 1745. It is built half in and half out of the churchyard and legend has it that his favourite dog called Bodyguard is buried in the part of the tomb which lies outside the graveyard. It also has some very fine engravings on the side of the tomb which are worth examining. To the west of the church there used to be rectory now gone where according to legend the daughter of an 18th century rector was murdered by a treacherous butler. The ‘Grey Lady’ is now said to haunt the area so if you do visit keep a lookout for her."

SOURCE - (visit link)
Building Materials: Stone

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