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barrow church side view

 

Twelfth century documents from Leicester Abbey mention a church in Barrow and a plan shows a church in the shape of a cross with a central tower. By the thirteenth century, side aisles had been added and the tower was in its present position.

Today the church reflects the thorough Victorian restoration. The chancel was rebuilt in 1863 at a cost of £1,000. Further work caused the tower to collapse a week before Christmas 1868, destroying the nave. However, the tower was rebuilt, the exterior walls faced with granite, the interior walls plastered and the church reopened on All Saints Day 1870 at a cost of £4,422.

barrow today

Collapse of the Tower in 1868 and the church today

The Chancel

The east window was inserted in 1890. Under the four Evangelists are the coats of arms of three important figures in Barrow’s history – Theophilus Cave, Dr Humphrey Babington and Bishop William Beveridge. The fourth coat of arms is that of the patrons of the parish, St John’s College, Cambridge.

high alter and east window

The fine carved reredos dates from the same time and depicts the Last Supper. the choir stalls were a gift in memory of Frank Cresswell who died in the First World War. These together with the panels in the South Transept were carved by local craftsman J Hind. Also in the chancel are the monuments to the Cave family.

The West End

There was once a gallery under the tower at the west end, where until the latter part of the nineteenth century, a string band provided music for services. the musicians were indignant to be replaced by a harmonium and soon afterwards an organ was purchased and placed in the North Transept. The present organ, acquired from a north Leicestershire church, was installed in 1907 when the vestries and organ chamber were built.

Next to the west door is the door to the belfry. the church has an active team of bell ringers and as can be seen from the plaque above the door, the bells were recently restored and the ring expanded to eight bells. Until 1972 there were five bells, three dating from the seventeenth century. The largest bell bears the melancholy inscription ‘All they that hear my mournful sound repent before they’re laid in ground.’

The first recorded Vicar is William de Hungarton (1227) and the list of incumbents records the unbroken line up to the present Priest in Charge.

priest in charge barrow upon soar

The Nave

The four round pillars in the nave date from the twelfth century and the two quatrefoil piers were entirely rebuilt in 1969. The roof of the nave, with angels and gold bosses, is fifteenth century.

On the north aisle wall are the charity boards describing numerous parish charities including the founding of the Old Men’s Hospital in 1694 (across the road from the church) and Humphrey Perkins School.

barrow and wolds church sepia

The Parish

Originally, Barrow church was the mother church of the three chapels at Quorn, Woodhouse and Mountsorrel. these became parish churches in 1868. Today Barrow-upon-Soar forms one parish with the village of Walton-le-Wolds.