Croxton Kerrial Church guide: part 3

View part 1: The village

The arches under the tower date back to 1186-1200. Use your right arrow keyboard key to see more photos.

Looking down the 46ft long nave. Click on the image to enlarge, and also view more photos

The Church

Before the reformation the church had been dedicated to St. Botolph but later, perhaps by an order in Council of Henry VIII, was changed to that of John the Baptist. A carved statue of the saint can be seen as you enter the church, which replaces a much earlier one.

No traces of an early building survive, but it is likely that the earliest part of the present building – the early English arches under the tower – were built around 1186-1200, during the Bishopric of St. Hugh.

There are stone seats inside the porch which are a reminder of the time when stone seating ran round the inside of churches for the relief of the old and infirm. Everyone else had to stand or kneel.

The south porch features a 'humility door', forcing visitors to bow their heads before entering.

Humility door (click to enlarge.)

The inner door of the south porch is 15th century with a fine humility door (right), ensuring that all who entered had to bow their heads in reverence. The figure of the Virgin and Child above the door had been badly burned and was restored in the 19th century.

The windows in the south aisle (right side) are 14th and 15th century. At the eastern (far) end of the south aisle are two beautiful windows, and a piscina, used for the washing of sacred vessels.

The nave (top photo) is 46 feet long and 18 feet wide and is one of the oldest parts of the building. The large west window is 14th century and three-panelled).

There is a 15th century wooden door above the pulpit which, in recent centuries, led on to a musician’s gallery. This would have been taken down when music was provided by the organ in 1868. Higher still there is a carved cherub under which is a wooden trefoil. This marks the bottom of the bell chamber and the congregation can be spied on from up there.

There are six bells at present. In 1553 there were four and a sanctus bell and were rung from the bottom of the tower. In 1876 the four large bells were restored, a broken one recast and a new one added. The bells were restored and re-hung in 1958. It is not certain when the new ringing chamber was made.

The present chancel was rebuilt when the three-panelled east window was inserted. Unfortunately, this is now hidden by the stone reredos from 1873. The sanctuary lamp dates from 1921.

The present north aisle was rebuilt and reroofed in 1868 as it had been in a very dilapidated state. The rest of the roof was also done, and it is interesting to note that musket balls fired by Cromwell’s soldiers were found embedded in the lead.

Read part 4: The medieval pews

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