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Modern Britain

Gallery: Churches of Warwickshire

by Peter Kessler & Aidan McRae Thomson, 18 April 2010

 

 

South Warwickshire Part 42: Churches of Lighthorne & Gaydon

St Laurence

St Laurence, Lighthorne, sits at the very western end of Church Lane, to the west of the village, which itself is close to the Roman Fosse Way. The church (which is also referred to by some sources as St Lawrence) is built of stone in the late-thirteenth century style and consists of a long chancel, a north chapel, an even longer nave, north aisle, south porch, and a wide tower at the western end of the building. An arcade of four bays divides the nave and aisle.

St Laurence

The tower walls are of white, coarsely tooled ashlar, built in three diminishing stages with an embattled parapet. The advowson has remained attached to the manor throughout its history. In 1364, John de Blockleye, the rector, obtained leave to assign lands and tenements in Harbury, but did nothing about it, and the proposed chantry in Harbury was apparently not established as a result. The tower was rebuilt in 1771 and the remainder of the church in 1875-1876.

St Laurence

The fittings are modern except for a seventeenth century plain chest in the tower, and some reset ancient stained glass. There are four bells in the tower, the oldest of which is from the fifteenth century. This tenor was cast by the Worcester foundry. Another bell is a Henry Bagley example of 1679, while the other two were added in 1890. In the chancel's south-west window is a fourteenth century shield of Beauchamp of Warwick in a white patterned roundel.

St Giles

St Giles, Gaydon, lies between Church Road and Church Lane in the centre of the village. From the time at which it was founded, the medieval chapel at Gaydon was probably a chapelry of Chadshunt, which was part of the prebend of the precentor of Lichfield. In 1284 the men of Gaydon agreed to pay two marks annually to the precentor towards the support of a priest for their chantry in the chapel of Gaydon, and the rights of the mother church of Chadshunt were carefully safeguarded.

St Giles

The mother church of Chadshunt became subordinated to the vicarage of Bishop's Itchington at the end of the thirteenth century, and from that time until 1879 the two chapelries were served from the vicarage. By the early Victorian era the decision was reached to replace the chapel with a brand new church. This was opened in 1852 as a small building of ashlar in the fourteenth century style, giving it the look of richly-coloured toffee, now badly weathered in places.

St Giles

Built to a design by the architect Squirhill of Leamington, the replacement church consists of a relatively small chancel, nave, and a north aisle with a tower at its west end. It contains no ancient features except the single bell, which came from the old chapel. On 22 February 1879 the two chapelries of Gaydon and Chadshunt were separated from the parish of Bishops Itchington, ending an arrangement that had lasted for almost five hundred years.

All photos on this page contributed by Aidan McRae Thomson.

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