Benefice of Whitwick, Thringstone & Swannington

 


***TRANSCRIPTIONS OF GRAVESTONES ARE AVAILABLE FROM WHITWICK HISTORICAL GROUP***

 

Early History

Whitwick Parish Church was probably built on a former pagan shrine of a natural spring.  There has been worship, both Christian and pagan on this site for well over two thousand years, existing as long ago as 673 AD when a small Saxon church was probably built on the site. 
The existing church is of an old English style dating from about 1220.  The church contains Saxon stonework, probably part of a cross as part of its structure. 

Tower 1220 AD

 

 The tower is 64 feet high and has two niches set in the buttresses on the south face which would have housed the statues of Saint John The Baptist and the Virgin Mary in pre-Reformation times.  The large slate clock face on the west wall has been restored and although undated the clock was made by Samuel Deacon of Barton-in-the-Beans in 1810.  On the north face of the tower the earlier roof line of the thirteenth century church can be seen.

The Bells

The belfry contains eight bells - Tenor 11 cwts 3 qts. Treble to fourth dated 1891 and fifth to tenor dated 1628.  The other bells were dated 1891 when the framework was repaired.  The lintel over the door leading to the ringing room has been taken from a fourteenth century stone coffin lid and the cross inscription can be seen if you look closely.

Porch and Font

The porch dates from 1350 and the church door from 1290.  The medieval font, is fourteenth century.  Next to the font is a stone bowl said to be a stoop which would have contained holy water.

Nave and Aisles

The nave & aisles date from 1300 but were extended another sixteen feet in 1848.  In the 14th century, Sir John Talbot mustered a small army to lay claim to Whitwick castle which he believed was more rightfully his than that of Sir Henry Beaumont who had inherited the castle.  Sir John evicted Sir Henry and razed the castle to the ground.  Sir John died in 1365.  The tomb of Sir John Talbot can be found next to the wall in the north aisle.

The East window of the north aisle depicts the crucifixion and is dedicated to those local miners and quarrymen who lost their lives in industry.  The outside stone work to this window dates from 1290.

In the South aisle, in the wall, there is a 14th century piscina (stone basin) and the East window depicts the return of the tithes to Whiwick in 1235.  The armoured knight is Sir Henry De Lacey the patron of this church.  Kneeling is William De Shalwell, Rector of this church in 1235.  Seated is Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln.  In the background is Whitwick Church with an artist's impression of the nearby castle. 

 
Nave, north aisle, memorial east window & clerestory 

There were originally three arches, but a fourth one was added in 1848.  The pews date from the same period. 
There are records of a market actually being held in the church in 1393!

Clerestory

 

 The Clerestory was added in 1620 and one of the windows is made up of pieces of glass taken from the original chancel windows when it was replaced with the present one.

Chancel and Crypt

 The window in the chancel depicts Jesus' baptism, St John the Baptist's head being carried on a tray and scenes from the Last supper. 

In the 1950's a medieval piscina was discovered but has since been concealed behind the plaster.

On the outside wall of the chancel a small section of an ancient Saxon cross has been incorporated into the stonework.

 

The crypt is above ground level and is the source of the spring.  The crypt may have been a charnel house that is to say a place where exhumed bones may have been stored prior to re-burial.

 

  • Rev Liz Angell
  • 37 North Street
  • Whitwick
  • Leicestershire
  • LE67 5HB

01530 589136
Email Us