Re-opening on the Parish Church 1878

A major restoration of Rothley Parish Church took place in the 1870's and re-opening services took place in June and July 1878.

The following is a report from the Leicester Journal on the 5th July 1878:


The re-opening services of this parish church, of which we gave a lengthy report in our last week's issue, were continued on Sunday last, when a most able and impressive sermon, in the morning, was preached from Nehemiah, v., 15, by the Rev. W.C.Ingram, vicar of St. Matthew's Leicester. The offertory amounted to £5 18s. 5d. In the evening that sermon was preached from Isaiah, lxiv., 11, "Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised Thee," by the Rev. J. Herrick Macaulay, vicar of Wilstead, Beds, and Rural Dean. Mr. Macaulay is a grandson of the Rev. Aulay Macaulay, former vicar of Rothley, and his touching allusions to past times and old associations aroused a sympathetic sentiment between preacher and hearers which was very affecting. The congregations at both services were very large, and in the evening it was with difficulty that many obtained seats, notwithstanding the great additional accommodation afforded by the re-seating of the church.

Though the whole of the church is well worthy of careful inspection, from the many features of interest it contains, and which have been so well brought out in the restoration, yet it was evident from the crowds who pressed into it after the services, that the chancel, which has been re-built from its foundation, was the great object of attraction, and which, to our mind, is singularly handsome, with its carved oak choir stalls and two prayer desks. The reredos is a remarkably successful application of Minton's majolica tiles, which form the setting to a central panel of black Devonshire marble, relieved by an extremely beautiful alabaster cross four feet high, and standing on a super-altar, also of polished alabaster, 8 feet 6 inches long. These, together with the candlesticks and flower vases, and also the Litany-stool, were the gift of Mr. Edmonds, of the Mountsorrel Granite Company. The altar cloth will bear the closest criticism, both as regards design and execution; the super-frontal is of crimson silk, the frontal of cloth of the same colour, richly embroidered. Its general effect is most pleasing, and great praise is due to the lady who worked it (Miss Miles, of Keyham Hall) for her noble contribtion, which so greatly helps to adorn the church. The two Gospel lights, by Brawn and Co., of Birmingham, standing ten feet high and burning nine candles each, attracted considerable attention by the beauty of their design and richness of colouring, being composed entirely of wrought ironwork. They are the gift of
Mrs Fead, a daughter of the late vicar. The sedilia, credence table, and piscina, are of the Early English style of architecture, and the carving of the capitals of the columns does great credit to Mr. Tann, stone carver, of Cambridge.

Passing from the chancel, one's attention is immediately directed to the carved oak screen, at least 350 years old, dating from the best days of the Perpendicular style of architecture. This has been cleansed of its many coats of paint and varnish, and, surmounted by its carved oak rood cross six feet high, is a marked feature in the church. The rood cross is the gift of Mr. W. H. Macaulay. The pulpit, too, had its share of admirers, and is a happy combination of red Mansfield stone and alabaster, carved oak, and wrought and coloured ironwork; its antependium of needlework with six alms-bags, corresponding in design and material with the altar cloth, is the gift of Mrs Bennett, of Marston Trussell Hall. The pulpit itself, and the chancel corona were given by the Vicar.

To read a full account about the opening service and the sermon preached please click on the following link:

For more information about Rothley Parish Church and its history please click on the following link