A look back in time (4)

Saint Laurence Church, Measham

The church must surely be the oldest building in Measham, but what do we really know about it. Early records are very hazy, but it seems that the church was built around 1300, just over 700 years ago. Indeed, a celebration of 700 years was held in about 1996.

At that time it would have been a very different church, both the physical form and the services. It would, of course, have been Roman Catholic. It would be nearly 300 years before the Church in England came into being. We would have had to stand - no pews, but probably seats for the Lord of the Manor and his family. No singing, although probably some chanting. We would not have been able to understand what was going on because the service would be in Latin. Despite this all would have been expected to attend. The church at that time had a very powerful influence on people's everyday lives.

For more information about the church's history and architecture go to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiRQGdaQXwM&list=PL5kes5-Qs6qrkLPgKZvSFt8Xh8DUot88Z&index=2&t=8s

Today, what remains from those times? Apart from some original stonework, 2 main features spring to mind.

one of the church bells

One of the oldest surviving objects in the church is a large tenor bell, dating from the early 1300s, almost certainly made in Measham. A well-known bell founder, William de Lichfield, would have set up a temporary foundry near the church, cast the bell and installed it, before moving on somewhere else. It is one of only 7 bells by William known to exist today and still rings every week (apart from during lockdown, of course). To hear the bells and find out more about their ringing go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdPuY5Bpspk&list=PL5kes5-Qs6qrkLPgKZvSFt8Xh8DUot88Z&index=5

The other item is medieval glass, now put together in a corner window like a jigsaw puzzle. It would originally have been in the large East window, but is today a lot smaller and made up of fascinating, but largely random patterns of glass.

medieval glass in Saint Laurence's

To hear about this glass, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ66UqjKlh0&list=PL5kes5-Qs6qosZ0rUixMv2p6lSp9StaxV&index=5

Other items in the church are mainly from the Victorian era, but there are also more modern features such as the WW1 Roll of Honour, the War Memorial, the Community Wall Hanging from 2012 and the stained glass windows in the East end of the church. For more information about the church windows go to: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5kes5-Qs6qosZ0rUixMv2p6lSp9StaxV

Finally, to bring us up to date, look at this photo of the church from the 1960s when Iveagh House (the doctor's home and surgery) was still standing to the left behind the church.