We continued south to Measham, just the other side of the A42. St Laurence church is at SK 335122 – website. It is set back off the main road, and as we walked up we were welcomed by a cleric, who turned out to be Vivien the Team Rector. She was about to give a guided tour, and got the ramp out so we could get in. She said they were working for an HLF grant, and I am very glad to see that since we visited they have been awarded £195,800. Well done – and thank you HLF, you have chosen well. Press release is here.
You can see from the outside stonework that money needs to be spent, and spent urgently – Vivien told us the windows are holding the wall up! Industrial pollution in this former mining community. One sensible suggestion, which I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere, are tip-up pews so wheelchairs can use the space.
The first mention of the church is in 1172 – it is a Chapel of Ease looked after by Richard. By 1270 it was under the care of St Wystan in Repton, then Patronage passed to the Crown at the Reformation. The porch roof has unusual stone ribs. Nice font, and the oak chest (dating to about 1690) has three locks – one key for the Vicar, and one for each Churchwarden. The church was re-pewed in 1842 and a gallery erected – it was then able to seat 610 people. The pit closed in 1986 – details are here.
As we looked round we were encouraged to look up. Enjoy the roof and the figures – note the chap with his bagpipes.
The village still has life – though I don’t suppose ministry here is particularly easy. The War Memorial reminds us of harder times, and I found myself wondering how William Williamson, of the Home Guard, died. This website tells me “Corporal, 11th Leicestershire (Ashby-de-la-Zouch) Battalion, Home Guard. Died 8 February 1942. Aged 25. Son of Daniel and Lucy Eleanor Williamson, of Measford; husband of Gladys Miriam Williamson, of Wednesford, Staffordshire. Buried in Measham Cemetery, Leicestershire. Roman Catholic Section. Grave 1001.” Be nice to do some proper research. Those of us bought up on a diet of Dad’s Army find it difficult to realise that 1,600 Home Guard soldiers lost their lives – source.
The East Window is the work of Mr C. Powell of Highgate. It includes the central figure of Christ in Glory, and contains the diocesan shields of Southwell, Derby and Lichfield – this parish has been in all three. I like the conversion of St Paul.
There are two windows by Francis Skeat, both installed in the early 1960s – he had a studio in St Albans. The St Patrick window shows the shield of the Bishop of Armagh, the ship in which Patrick sailed from Ireland to Gaul, and Patrick giving his blessing to Munster. The small piece of glass underneath shows the dedication of the chapel on 14 December 1967 by the Lord Bishop of Leicester, wearing for the first time in a church, his House of Lords robes.
The St Luke window was given in memory of Dr Hart and his sister Kathleen. The traceries show the pestle and mortar surrounded by pharmacist’s symbols. We have the Good Samaritan and Jesus the healer. We have Miss Hart’s dog and the doctor’s horse – as well as daffodils and canaries. The bricks are Measham Jumb bricks – twice the size of normal bricks to beat the brick tax.
The Abney Window, in memory of William Wootton Abney, and was installed in the late 1860s. Lovely rich colour and design. I didn’t make notes on any of the others – just enjoy the colours! May I suggest a window guide along the lines of the one at Ashby?
Fiona, one of the congregation, photoed northernvicar at work and northernreader filling in her feedback form – we all know HLF need paperwork. We had had a lovely welcome, and look forward to coming back as the work progresses (and if we can help in any way, please get in touch).
We said “thank you” to the rather battered figure watching over us all.