St Michael - Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 52° 32.921 W 001° 16.772
30U E 616657 N 5823457
Quick Description: Medieval church of St Michael, Stoney Stanton.
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 11/12/2018 11:28:13 AM
Waymark Code: WMZH6H
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member pmaupin
Views: 0

Long Description:
"The village of Stoney Stanton was mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086 as 'Stantone' - a 'stony place' and it is built on a rocky outcrop of ancient grano-diorite, a hard stone much prized for roadmaking. Stoney Stanton, as it was later named, became a quarry village for many years. Those quarries have long since ceased and one is now known as Stoney Cove

The Domesday book records 14 households living in Stoney Stanton, and we can well imagine the population to be about 150 -200 people. In 1348, the 'black death' hit Stanton."

SOURCE - (visit link)

"Entering the church by the North Door you will become aware of the development which has taken place over the centuries as each generation has used the building to reflect the needs of its own time. For a village church, the building is quite large, light and airy.

The Font is at the front of the church, on the North side in the baptistry area, this was described as 'ancient' by County Historian John Nicholls in the late eighteenth century. It originally stood at the entrance of the ringing room at the western end of the church, but was moved to its present position during the re-ordering of the 1980's. Here you will also see one of the oldest parts of the church, the Perpendicular North arcade. The stone columns have now been stripped of the paintwork which covered them into recent times, exposing octagonal piers and double-chamfered arches.

The interior has been lightened by the replacement of much opaque Victorian glazing with clear glass.

To the left of the door on the north side of the church, you will see a modern stained glass window, given by members of a local family, to the memory of Mrs E. Tansey.

To the right of the door is a window with a panel set within depicting the words "I was sick and ye visited me"

The re-ordering, to suit modern needs of worship is most apparent as you turn to face the present nave altar. The area created around the altar provides ample space for the concerts which take place from time to time in the church. Carved altar-rails were created, using wood from the surround of a former South Aisle altar. The pulpit was much reduced in size and relocated. Also moved several inches eastwards was the screen, placed in the church as a memorial to the fallen of the 1914-18 war, which was shifted away from the chancel arch to allow a greater space around the altar. There is an ancient spiral staircase, in the north side of the arch, which would have led to a former rood screen, indicating that a medieval screen had predated the present one.

As you move towards the Eastern end of the church, behind the present Nave Altar, you will enter the chancel area, now used as a chapel for weekday and smaller services. The organ, a fine Victorian two-manual instrument, built by the Lane family, required the building of an organ chamber which was completed on the South side of the church in 1882. A recent addition to the sanctuary was the aumbry for the Reserved Sacrament, which has meant that the church has been able to develop its ministry to housebound people throughout the village.

The chancel, along with the nave roof, clerestory and south aisle were built by H.Goddard the noted Leicester architect, in 1842-3, but if you look back towards the western arch, above the belfry, the line of the earlier roof can still be detected in the stonework. The carved heads in the clerestory window-lintels are ancient, and were almost certainly re-used from an earlier site.

One of the most notable artefacts in the building is the ancient parish chest, roughly hewn from an oak probably in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. It has long since ceased to be used for its original purpose, the storage of valuables, and the village records also held in the chest are now in the care of the Leicester and Leicestershire Records Office. However, the walking stick belonging to the saintly eighteenth century curate of the place, John Bold (of whom, more later!) and some 18th century service books, donated by his successor are stored within.

‘Over there in the corner is the old oak chest –

Of its kind in this country, one of the best’


…..words from Miss Baum’s ‘St.Michael’s Pageant’ of quite some years ago now. Many of us would agree – possibly more out of a sense of loyalty, than from a belief that it might actually be true.

John Bold’s walking stick in itself is an object of curiosity to visitors, particularly children, as they picture the good curate trekking over the fields to his teaching job in Hinckley .

Our forefathers, who built the chest, made it of such mighty proportions that only the centre section of the top could be used as a lid – and that takes some lifting! It is banded by forged iron and appears to have been cut from the trunk of a single oak tree. Over the years, the natural tannins have blackened the wood, indicating its great age. Its structure is that of a ‘dug-out’ chest – no joinery was involved – it was simply hollowed out of the tree-trunk with whatever tools were available. Interestingly, this style of chest barely lasted into the 14th century, being superceded by ‘planked’ chests as woodworking skills improved.

A recent visitor to the church kindly took detailed measurements of the chest, and has worked out an approximate age for the original oak tree. He believes that we are looking at a tree which was some 400 years old when felled – which takes the wood of our chest back into Anglo-Saxon times, well before the Norman Conquest.

One day, we may even produce an accurate dating! The dendochronologist from Nottingham University has promised to ‘look in when he’s next in the area.’ Until then, we can only hazard some gentle guesswork as to the true age of the chest. But what such a massive piece of ancient furniture is doing in Stoney Stanton’s village church is open to conjecture.

With the moving of the ancient Parish Chest in St.Michael’s from the south-west corner to its new site in the north aisle, it became necessary to clear out the accumulated ephemera of a couple of hundred years. This massive piece of furniture, hollowed out from some ancient tree, is extremely heavy, even after we had removed its contents, and took a team of four strong people to move it.

It became apparent that the contents really needed to be properly catalogued and sorted, a task which has been undertaken in collaboration with Alison Jackson, the village Heritage Warden. This has now been completed and several copies of the full inventory of objects remaining have been made. These are to be placed in the Library, in the chest itself, and with the village heritage group. This should ensure that anyone wishing to access the books and papers for research purposes is able to do so.

Most of the historical documents, such as the old registers have, over the years, been deposited at the Leicester and Leicestershire Records Office at Wigston and can be examined there upon application, but there are many old service books, dating back to the 18th Century, and documents ranging from land transactions made by Rev’d Martin as he promoted the quarrying of the village, down to old photos and newspaper cuttings relating to events as late as the 1960’s. Probably the most prized item in the chest is John Bold’s walking stick, given to him when he graduated from college, and an object of great curiosity to visiting schoolchildren."

SOURCE - (visit link)
Building Materials: Stone

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