THORPE

Grid Ref: SK 156 501
Dates: 28 June 2018 & 5 Sept 2018

 

 

  St. Leonard's  
  St. Leonard's, Thorpe  
  nave  
  The Chancel on 5 September 2018  

 

The charming ancient church of St. Leonard's is not the easiest to photograph because of the close proximity of venerable old trees. The view from the SE has the best access and light on a June morning. The interior is no less challenging with the high contrast between the body of the church and the brilliance of the windows. I made a second visit with a tripod to obtain an HDR shot of the nave showing both the window and the altar.

Tower spacer Altar
The Tower   Altar Cloth in June 2018
nave   Arch
Nave and Chancel Arch   Norman Arch in the base of the tower.
Pulpit   West window
Pulpit   Detail of the West Window
Font   window
Font   Window of St. Stephen and St. Michael

 

St. Leonard's is a Norman church built in the reign of King Stephen (1135-1154) which saw prolonged civil war known as the Anarchy. Stephen's cousin, Matilda or Maud, daughter of the previous King, Henry I, had been rejected by the barons in favour of her cousin, Stephen of Blois. The two cousins were both grandchildren of William I. The conflict finally came to an end when Stephen lost his only son and it was agreed that Maud's son, Henry would succeed Stephen and become Henry II. Readers of Ellis Peters' Cadfael stories will be well versed in this period of history. The tower is believed to be the oldest part of the church, built around 1100 and there may have been an earlier church, possibly of wood, on the site. The Norman arch at the base of the tower leads to the modern children's corner. The window beyond was designed by Mr. A. F. Erridge in 1950 and replaces the former West Door.

The church has a list of incumbents starting with one Ralph de Cressi in 1299, during the reign of King Edward I. Arthur Mee mentions that the bowl of the font is Norman and that in the 19th century it had been used as a cattle trough. During its exposure to the elements carving on the surface had crumbled away. It is one of only three "tub fonts" in the county. The chancel was rebuilt in the 19th century.

A brass plaque in the church tells us that the clock in the tower was presented in 1914 by Mary and Emily Twigge in memory of their parents John and Mary, and their younger siblings Lily and Edward. Information sheets in the church notes that the pulpit is modern, the work of a local mason and is in Hopton Wood limestone. The window by the pulpit is by Mr. F.C. Eden, FSA and depicts the raising of Lazarus. It is in memory of Emily and Mary Twigge. The East Window, behind the altar, was given in 1893 by Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Badnall. The Millward tomb, to the left of the altar is from 1642. The organ dates from 1850, and was made by J.C. Bishop.

On the south porch their are marks on the outer doorwas thought to have been created by sharpening arrows. In 1363, it was decreed that all men were ordered to practice archery on Sundays and on holidays, a law that was to be enforced by local sheriffs. Laws requiring men in certain age groups continued to be enacted into the time of Henry VIII.

Sources

The Buildings of England, Derbyshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, revised by Elizabeth Williamson, Yale University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-300-09591-0
The King's England, Derbyshire, by Arthur Mee, first published in 1937, 6th impression 1951
Derbyshire Parish Churches, from the 8th to the 18th Centuries by John Leonard, Breedon Book, Derby, 1993, ISBN 1 873626 36 3
Wikipedia page for Thorpe
Information brochure in the church.

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