A Lockdown Tour of The Parish Church
3 July 2020
When I go on my exercise walks in our historic town, I imagine I am explaining to an imaginary audience thing they may not have known before.
Last week I went to the Parish Church to see a painted cross people had been writing about.
Then I sat on one of the seats outside and started my spiel.
‘You all know about Taylor’s Bellfoundry that is now England’s only surviving Bellfoundry. But did you know that when the church’s bells needed replacing , the churchwardens stipulated that the bells must be cast in Loughborough, so John Taylor moved his business from Oxford to Loughborough in 1839 and established themselves in Pack Horse Lane before moving to the current site.’
‘The Parish Church was said to be the last Protestant church in the country in which incense was used after Cromwell’s troops and horses had been garrisoned in the church – to ‘sweeten it,’ according to the wardens’ accounts.’
‘Coming nearer to modern times, in the late 19th century when Thomas Pitts was Rector, a new organ was purchased at great expense. However it didn’t last long and exploded, scattering pieces all over the floor.’
‘Subsequently a violent gale in January 1928 blew down two of the tower’s central pinnacles and they crashed through the roof of the nave. The damage cost over £2,000 to repair and the whole town contributed to the cost.’
‘Every age put its stamp on the church – many parishioners were killed in the 1914-18 war, and a memorial was erected to them. There were bitter arguments about what format this memorial should take: some wanted an arch outside the church and many other possibilities were discussed. The treasurer of the committee resigned when the others chose a stone memorial similar to what is there now.’
‘However during the 1960’s, fashions changed, the CND and the Cold War encouraged congregations to take down the memorials and accordingly the All Saints’ tablets were hidden under the altar until 2014 when Charnwood Arts inaugurated a project to restore them.’
by Janet Grant