Congerstone village

Our Church


St. Mary’s is a 16th century church that underwent extensive restoration in 1834 when the large chancel was built.  Later, in 1897, the roof was in need of urgent repair.  The repair work undertaken at this time included infilling between the roof beam ends with sand and rubble, which contributed to the rotting of the roof beams discovered in 2016.

To read a Short History of St Mary’s Church, click here

A church has been on the present site in Congerstone since 1179.  St. Mary’s has historic links with the owners of the Gopsall Estate since the early 1700s, although links with the Jennens family are only evident because the oldest items of the Church Plate were donated by Felicea Jennens in 1718.

Charles Jennens jnr built what was said to one of the grandest mansions in the country in c1750 and George Frideric Handel is reputed to have stayed at Gopsall Hall on a number of occasions before his death in 1759.  However, the most well documented link between the church and village with the Gopsall Estate was during the ownership of the Earls Howe during the 19th and early 20th centuries.  A new stained glass window in the chancel (2014), funded in part by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, commemorates these connections.

The church organ was built around 1891 by Henry Willis who built the original Grand Organ in the Royal Albert Hall. There is also a monument to Georgiana, Countess Howe who died in 1906 which was created by Sir George Frampton, whose works include statues of Queen Victoria in Calcutta and Winnipeg and a statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.  The monument is an elaborate bronze tablet flanked by trumpeting angels, surmounted by a statuette of St. George beneath an open segmental pediment.

St. Mary’s has a west tower, and a 3-bay nave with a north aisle and a south porch.  The 2-bay chancel equals the combined widths of the nave and aisles.  The interior has a 3-bay nave arcade of double chamfered pointed arches on octagonal columns with moulded capitals, and a double chamfered and pointed tower arch.  There is a high chancel arch with chamfered surround and a second 4-centred arch leads from the north aisle to the chancel.

The church is constructed of Ashlar stone with low pitch nave and north aisle roofs hidden behind parapets, and with a slate roof over the chancel.  The low pitch nave roof sitting over the nave has short stubby king and queen posts.  A 19th century ceiled roof sits over the chancel, with moulded tie beams supported on arched brackets mounted on stone corbels.

The west tower comprises 2 stages with an offset belfry, clasping buttresses up to the second stage level from where they are continued as diagonal buttresses, and a crenellated parapet with continuous moulded coping.  The tower has a transomed, 3-light west window with trefoil-headed upper and lower lights beneath a depressed triangular arch.  The 2-centred belfry openings of 2 trefoil-headed lights with a supermullion above contain a central quatrefoil.

The nave has a gabled south porch built in 1834.  The porch has a pointed doorway, is rendered and lined to appear like Ashlar stone and has a Swithland slate roof.  There are two 3-light nave windows, one has a depressed triangular arch and a hollow-moulded surround.  The other has ogee-headed lights and panel tracery beneath a square head with a hood mould terminating in heads.

There are five 3-light clerestory windows with square heads in the south and north nave walls.  The north aisle has a crenellated parapet like that of the tower with a hollow-moulded string.  The north side of the north aisle is blind but there is a west window of 2 trefoil-headed lights beneath a 4-centred head.

The spacious chancel includes a pointed south door with moulded surround.  The chancel has a 3-light pointed east window with Perpendicular tracery flanked by a pair of trefoil-headed lancets, 2 pointed side windows with cast iron tracery and 4 small lancet windows.  The east window is flanked by 19th century commandment boards.  The 19th century chancel stained glass windows were made by Clayton and Bell, as was one of the windows in the nave.  The other stained glass window in the nave next to the south porch is a later, early 20th century Gascoigne window, and is in the style of Kempe.

The chancel has 19th century box pews along the north side, including one with a fireplace.  More box pews are located to the east of the south door.  There are 19th century choir stalls with poppyheads on the south side of the chancel.

The church’s fixtures and fittings include a19th century octagonal stone font, simple 19th century bench pews with poppyheads, an octagonal pulpit from 1921,which is tall and heavy with quatrefoil panel sides.

Part of this text is adapted from the official Historic England Listing. 

For a link to church services in Congerstone and the other churches within the Market Bosworth Benefice click here