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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Warwickshire

by Peter Kessler, 18 April 2010

South Warwickshire Part 39: Churches of Wellesbourne & Charlecote

St Peter

St Peter, Wellesbourne, is on the western corner of Hoppers Lane and Church Street. The village was first recorded in 862 as Wallesburam, and was later referred to as Walesborne in Domesday Book. In May 1140 it was hit by a tornado - one of the earliest recorded in the British Isles. It damaged several buildings and killed a woman. Once two villages, Wellesbourne Mountford and Wellesbourne Hastings, divided by the River Dene, they were merged together in 1947.

St Peter

The church consists of a chancel with a north organ chamber and a vestry, a south chapel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and a west tower. The building dates from the twelfth century, but the original plan has been lost under later additions. All that survives from this period is the former chancel arch, which has been reset on the north side of the chancel. A south aisle was added to the nave in the thirteenth century and the tower built late in the fourteenth century.

St Peter

The church was almost wholly rebuilt and enlarged in 1847, the only older parts surviving being the south arcade and the tower, while the nave was extended by one bay. Remaining in the floor of the new chancel was a stone slab with a brass effigy of Sir Thomas Strange, died 1426, shown in armour. After this point, perhaps the most significant event in Wellesbourne's history was the founding in 1872 of the first trade union for agricultural workers by Joseph Arch.

St Leonard

St Leonard, Charlecote, sits at the southern end of the village, on the western side of the main road, overlooking the River Avon. Charlecote Church sits close to the entrance of the estate of Charlecote Park, now a National Trust property. The church is a mid-Victorian gem which was conceived by and paid for by the Lucy family who are all grandly entombed and depicted in the family chapel, mainly in alabaster. The furniture within the church is all Victorian.

St Leonard

Mary Lucy, a woman before her time, was the force behind the rebuilding of the church which contains excellent examples of church craftsmanship. The work was completed between 1851-1853 to a John Gibson design. Only some of the interior fittings survive from the earlier, probably Norman, church. The new church consists of a chancel, north chapel, north organ chamber, nave, and a tower to the south of the chancel, with ashlar walls.There are two bells dated to 1697.

All photos on this page contributed by Aidan McRae Thomson.

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