St Andrews, Church of Tur Langton.
As you drive in the village of Tur Langton there is a magnificent church on the south side the the main street. This is St Andrews, a grade II listed church built by the architect Joseph Goddard of Leicester, standing in a small churchyard.
Joseph Goddard (1840-1900) was Leicestershires leading architect in the 19th century and designed the clock tower in Leicester (1868) the belle-cote at Stonton Wyville (1869) and Glenfield church (1876). The builders were Mr G F Fox of Atherstone and Mr Loveday of Kibworth (2)
There are records of a priest in Tur Langton as far back as 1165 and 1166. The original church, dating back to before 1162, is in the grounds of the Manor House and is now a ruin with just a fragment of the north wall of the nave and the north doorway to be seen. During the 16th and early 17th century there were resident chaplains, one was Robert Frier, curate in 1624, who received a stipend of 20 nobles (1), but by the early 18th century there doesn’t appear to be a resident priest in the village. In the 19th century the Rector of Church Langton (the mother church) would employ a curate to take services at Tur Langton in the old chapel, and prior to St Andrews being built there was no burial ground in the village with the rights of burial also being in Church Langton. Before St Andrews was built the old chapel was described as a ‘wretched structure’ and ‘so dilapidated it was no longer safe to assemble a congregation within its walls”. (4)
The ground was given by Sir Charles Islam and funding for the new church came from villagers and a grant from a charity set up by the Rev. W Hanbury of £1500. A substantial donation of £300 came from a Mrs Ord who laid the foundation stone in 1865. There is an inscription at the bottom of the centre window which reads:
“In memory of Charles Thomas Ord, born January 25 1832, died at Durham February 1848”
St Andrews is considered to be a particularly beautiful example of early English style and is thought to be the most advanced design of its time. It has had no modifications with all the fixtures and fittings being original (3).
The church is built entirely of red brick with contrasting blue-black bricks on the buttresses and in the hoods of the arches. There are also lobed bricks used in the arcade arches, the view of the south side is very striking from a distance with the large three light windows and contrasting red and blue-black brick design. The three stained glass windows at the east end represent 1, Christ blessing his children, 2, The Good Samaritan and 3, The Prodigal Son. The windows were made by Messrs Heaton, Butler and Bayne of Garrick Street Covent Garden. (4) The apsidal sanctuary leads around to the north side which faces the village street and has smaller detail. Inside we have a north aisle, nave, organ chamber, small vestry and sanctuary. The large west broached tower is also made of red brick. The roof is Welsh slate. The tower above the entrance porch has corner buttresses and is surmounted by a broad spire, which is 115ft in. There is one bell, by Edward Arnold of Leicester and St Neots which was transferred from the old chapel to the new (5)
An article appeared in the Leicester Journal, dated Friday 5th October 1866 describing the consecration and opening of the church by the Lord Bishop of Peterborough. It describes the church as a beautiful specimen of the early English style of architecture and the event “a very interesting ceremony” (6) (although it doesn’t elaborate what was very interesting!).
Today the church holds shared services with the Langtons and Welham benifices, with a service approximately every four weeks.
1, 3 & 4 British History online, A History of the county of Leicestershire : volume 5, Gartree Hundred
4 The History of the Parish of Langton, John Harwood Hill, printed for the subscribers by Ward and Sons 1867
5 - Leicester Churches online
6 - British Newspapers Archive, Leicester Journal, Friday October 5th 1866