Spring 2015 and a return visit to the church of St Peter at Barrowden. The church here was the second church visited on what turned out to be a seven church tour of Rutland, the day culminating in an evening prayer service at Bisbrooke. Could have done with a little sun here as it was cloudy and dull. The church of St Peter still looked lovely though, as we approached down the lane to the east, the old cottages covered in wisteria.
There was a church mentioned here at the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086, with Barrowden at that time being an important royal manor. The oldest parts of the present church date back to around 1210. Later in the 13th century, the north and south aisles were added, with the south porch and doorway being moved to their present position at that time.
In the mid 14th century, the church of St Peter was in a poor state of repair and money was donated to help repair it. It was at this time that the west tower was built, with the font and clerestory also dating from this time. In the 15th century much work was undertaken on rebuilding the east and south walls of the chancel. The broach spire dates from the 16th century. The building was restored in the 1840's and more work was undertaken in the 1890's.
North's Victorian study of the church bells of Rutland informs us that there were five bells hanging, and a priests bell. Two of the bells were cast by Alexander Rigby, who took over the Stamford Bellfoundry after the death of Tobias Norris III, These are dated 1704 and 1706. This latter bell was cast just two years before his death, and the subsequent closure of the Stamford bellfoundry.
Two of the bells North recorded as being cast by Francis Watts of Leicester in the very late 16th century. One of these has the lovely inscription "Cvm, cvm and preay 1595" whilst another says "God save the queene 1595". The final bell is an alphabet bell cast by Newcombe of Leicester.The priests bell was cast by Edward Arnild whose foundry was to be found in Hangman's Lane, Leciester! Today, according to the National Church Bell database, there are six bells hanging at St Peter with one of these being cast in 1990 and three of the ancient bells being recast in 1915.
As is mostly the case in Rutland, the church was open. A lantern hangs in the south porch, dating from the 18th century. On the north wall of the north aisle there is a striking monument to one Rowland Durant who died in 1588, who was MP for Stamford in 1554.
The font dates from the 14th century and is octagonal in design, with the font resting on four legs which are also octagonal. The pulpit is modern, and replaces a 16th century pulpit which was moved to Harringworth in Northants in 1875.
In the south aisle a depiction of Christ crucified stands, with the mottom 'He died that we might live'
The church grounds are large and well maintained. Some interesting eighteenth century headstones, including one featuring a human skull, with crossed bones underneath, reminding the onlooker in days of low life expectancey and high mortality, that Man is mortal and will die. Close by, badly weathered but still distinguishable, a gravestone depicts a widow