On passing into the chancel, which is much in need of careful restoration, several interesting features call for notice.

On the north wall there is a pre-Reformation relic of which any village may well be proud. This is the remains of what was once a fine Easter sepulchre, now alas ! denuded of the statues, and all the beautiful carving and ornaments have been defaced. But even in its damaged state, it is worthy of a better setting than the modern wall tiling with which, at the period of writing (i.e. 1912) it is surrounded. The Easter sepulchre was used in the elaborate pre-Reformation services at passion-tide. In the base were four compartments, each containing a sculptured representation of a Roman soldier, sleeping, but only the cusped heads are now visible. The central recess in the stage above was intended to represent the holy sepulchre, wherein an image of the body of our Lord, together with the most blessed sacrament was deposited on the Eve of the Passion there to remain until Easter-day, when, with great rejoicing it was again brought forth in the presence of the people. Within the sepulchre, or near it, a vessel was placed to receive the oblations known as "creeping silver," offered by those who came creeping to the sepulchre at this solemn season. The remaining compartments were probably filled with representations of the Ascension, and the attendant angels with censers and palm branches. The ceremony prevailed from Saxon times until the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In most of our village Churches the sepulchre was either a temporary wooden structure, or a space was screened off with curtains ; while occasionally the founder's tomb was utilized. Only two other Churches in this county—Hawton and Sibthorp—have stone sepulchres and it is interesting to note that they also were built by the same craftsmen. The carved head on the west side of the sepulchre probably served as a lamp bracket to carry the light which was kept constantly burning throughout Holy-week.

Two brackets at the east end, one on either side of the altar, are worthy of special notice. The carved heads supporting the brackets have been shockingly mutilated, and their crowns have been ruthlessly shorn away to make room for the drip moulding of the modern east window. The remains are sufficient however to indicate that they were royal personages, and by comparison with similar sculptures at Woodboro' and elsewhere, we may conclude that they were made to represent the reigning monarchs, King Edward III. and his Queen, Philippa. Apart from anything else this would fix the date of erection of the chancel some time after their marriage (1327), but before the Black Death decimated the ranks of the builders (1349). The images which once stood upon the brackets, and the canopies over them, have entirely disappeared. One of these images would surely be the Virgin, as it was the universal custom for the parishioners thus to honour the Saint to whom their Church was dedicated ; the other would most probably be St. Katharine, the Patroness of the subsidiary altar in the south aisle.

Probably the most interesting feature the Church contains is an incised grave-cover, within an arched recess in the north wall of the chancel—the position usually assigned to the tomb of the founder. A recent examination has disclosed the fact that the vault beneath is now empty. Yet it was undoubtedly made to receive, and did once contain, the mortal remains of the person by whose influence this portion of the Church was built. The tomb is covered with a slab of local sand-stone (yellow Mansfield) six feet and five inches long, 24 inches wide at the head diminishing to 201/2 inches at the foot, and 25/8 inches thick. The stone is broken and worn to such an extent that upon first sight it seemed quite impossible to decipher it, but after diligent application, and with the generous assistance of the Rev. J. T. Fowler, D.D., of Durham, and several members of the Thoroton Society, I am able to give a conjectural description of it. The device is a rendering in stone of the more usual form of a "bracket brass" of the period, and is to be considered erect and not recumbent. A short column or shaft terminating in a bracket, gives support to a shrine with a canopied head, containing the figure of a Saint, most probably the B. V. Mary.5 A Canon Regular is kneeling at the base, his left arm encircling the shaft, while with his right hand he appears to be offering a casket, presumably containing the gift of the Church, to the patron saint. The inscription round the margin, in Lombardic capitals, is written in Latin hexameters, PERPETUIS ANNIS LATITANT HIC OSSA JOHANNIS (Here for perpetual years lie hid the bones of John). So runs the first verse, but the remainder has so far baffled all attempts at elucidation, although the disjointed words MANSIT,—NUTRIX—XPISTI, and probably CONSECRAVIT, leave little doubt as to the drift of it.

The fact that the inscription was composed in Latin, the canonical language, at a time when Norman French was spoken at court denotes this to be the tomb of a priest; the figure of a Canon Regular kneeling before the patron Saint denotes the one who was sent from the House of Augustinians to whom the patronage belonged, and the words which are still legible in the inscription all tend to confirm the statement that it was John de la Launde whose bones were therein laid to rest.

The Patent Rolls 1347, M. 24, "Presentation of John de la Launde, parson of the Church of Arnale in the diocese of York to the vicarage of St. Mary, Nottingham." The Presentation was made by King Edward III., as he at that time held Lenton Priory, in whose patronage the vicarage was vested. It would appear that John de la Launde died before entering into possession of his benefice at Nottingham, as another institution took place 15 days later, i.e. 19th April, 1347. "His Will was proved 4th May 1347 and it would be almost certain that he would be buried at Arnold as he desired."6

The kerb supporting the grave cover is ornamented, like the Easter sepulchre adjoining, with the four-leaf flower—a characteristic ornament of the period. Portions of this kerb were recovered from the vault when it was opened some years ago. Apparently they had been thrown there when the tomb was despoiled of its contents.

The piscina in the south wall of the chancel is a very striking piece of work. The graceful lines of the tracery, hewn out of a single block of stone, and enclosed within an acutely pointed arch, is almost identical with the tracery in the stone screen of the Minster Church at Southwell. (Erected 1340.) It will be noticed that there are two basons side by side and two drains, and it is probable that over each bason there once was a wooden shelf to contain the holy vessels. The double bason became necessary when it was enjoined (late in the 13th century) that the Priest should also wash his hands before the Canon of the Mass. It would therefore be necessary to have one bason for the rinsings of the chalice and the other for the priest's ablution. By the end of the 14th century a reversion to the single drain became general, the custom having set in by that time for the Priest to drink the ablution from the chalice. Hence the double piscina may be assigned to the Edwardian period, and thus we get another clue to the date of erection.

The piscina has suffered much from so-called restoration; it appears to have been re-set at a higher level, for the abrupt termination of the hood moulding and cill makes it clear that it is not now in its original position.

The sedilia—i.e. the stone seats in the chancel for the "celebrant," "gospeller" and "epistoler"—have been destroyed by the operation of raising the chancel floor and straightening the south wall. They appear never to have been so elaborate as the sedilia constructed by the same craftsmen at Hawton, Car-Colston, and elsewhere.

There is a fine oak table in the vestry, which formerly served as an altar in Gonalston Church. In 1852 it was relegated to a hay-loft where it lay until 1910, when by consent of the Bishop of Southwell, and the Patron, Rector and Wardens of Gonalston, it was given to Arnold to be preserved and used as a vestry table.

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Externally very little that is interesting remains.

The upper portion of the tower, added in 1630, in the debased style of architecture then prevailing, was again re-built in 1868. According to Throsby the tower contained 5 bells in 1797. Stretton, writing in 1812, says, "The tower contains three bells with a frame for 5. The inscriptions are :—

A fourth bell was added in 1841, having this inscription:— " Jesu   Salvatori   dedicatum   munus   Henrici   Coape   Samueli Matthews et Uria Wood gentrosonim civium 1841."

In the south wall of the tower, just beneath the clock, there is a carved stone panel, believed to be ancient, but there is no authentic record concerning it. It probably represents the Annunciation,—a winged angel on the left, the Virgin on the right, with a vase of lilies between. The lower portion of the tower, to judge by the plinth and buttress weathering outside and the tower arch within, was re-built in 1450; the western doorway with attached columns and the window over it belong to the 14th century and were evidently incorporated in the re-building. The south porch has disappeared altogether. The inner doorway remains, containing some of the original work, but it has been repaired until it is difficult to tell which is the old and which is new. It was customary for mediaeval builders to place a figure of the saint in whose honour the Church was dedicated, in a niche over the entrance. The niche still remains over the south door, but it is vacant. A figure of the Virgin, mutilated almost beyond recognition, but supposed to have once occupied this position of honour, is preserved within the Church. The north doorway now built up, has no shafts in the jambs, the arch mould being continued down to the plinth. All the doorways contain the characteristic late decorated "wave moulding" indicating the date of erection to be near the end of the 14th century. The corbelling for the staircase to the rood-loft in the angle of the south aisle and chancel, with the "slits" to give light, is a very interesting bit of workmanship and worthy of notice.

In the apex of the chancel gable there is a small circular window divided into the two pear-shaped lights by graceful flowing tracery, and beneath it there is a niche ornamented with "ball flowers." These, with possibly the cross on the gable, are all the external remains of the once glorious work; but fragmentary as they are they give us a glimpse of former splendour and determine the date of erection of this chancel to be approximately 1340.

Stretton tells us that the Church was repaired and the new roof put on probably in 1676, as one of the beams bears that date. He also mentions the fact that the oak screen was still in position when he visited the Church on the 3rd of June, 1812, but no trace of it now remains. A new vestry and gallery were added in 1839.

The present east window was inserted in 1868, when a sum of £4,000 was spent upon the repair of the fabric. At that time the north and south walls were gone two feet out of upright, the ends of the Church were split from top to bottom and thought to be beyond repair. It is much to be regretted that the restoration was not more in harmony with the old work. A comparison with the ancient chancels at Woodboro' and Car Colston will help us to realise how much has been lost.

The Church plate is comparatively modern. It consists of a silver flagon 71/2in. high, 43/4 in. base, presented in 1876 for "Mercies received;" an ancient silver cup 61/2in. high, 33/4 in. across top, and a modern replica of it presented by Mrs. Skinner, 1874; a paten 53/4 in. diam. 2 in. high, presented by Rev. M. J. Truman, 1875; a pewter flagon 10 in. high, and five pewter plates 9 in. diam. un-dated.

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Summary of Dates in connection with the history of the Church:—

1086. Domesday Survey,—no mention of Church.
1176. Thoroton's reference to a wedding "at the Church door."
13th century. North aisle built—walls only now remaining.
1154-1189. Church given to Laund Priory by Henry II.— remained in the gift until 1408.
1307. First mention of a Rector.
1315-1347. John de la Launde was Vicar, and the present chancel was built.
1327. Edward III. married to Philippa—their heads are carved as supports to the statue brackets. Philippa died 1369.
1349. The Black Death interfered with building operations for a time.
c. 1350. Mouldings enriched with the "ball flower" ornament, and the "four-leaf" ornament used in this Church, were predominant at this period.
1315-1360. Similar mouldings to those in caps to chancel arch and nave arcade were in general use at this period.
14th century. Period when double piscinae were used.
1390. Similar mouldings to those in the north doorway were in general use at this period.
1450. Tower re-built.


1. The old style of reckoning was changed for the new by an Act of Parliament passed in the reign of George II, whereby the day after the 2nd of September, 1752, was called the 14th September, and the 1st day of the succeeding January became New Year's Day instead of the 25th of March as heretofore. The necessity for this change was due to the fact that the early scientists had made each year to consist of 365 days, which was too short (the solar year contains 365 days of 24 hours each and approximately 6 hours over). This error had grown year by year until it was necessary to omit from the Calendar 11 days to make it correspond approximately with Solar time.
2. The Abbey of Launde (variously spelt Laude, Launde, Laudan) was founded AD. 1125. King Henry the first confirmed the gift of Richard Bassett (of Colston Bassett, Notts.) and Matildis Ridel, his wife, + + + to the Church of St. John Baptist, of Laund, in Leicestershire, which they had founded for the soul of King William, his father. Portions of the original buildings together with later additions still remains.
3. "English Monastic Life," Abbot Gasquet.
4. "4th February, 1500—Tho. Clarke, Vicar, to be buried in the Chapel of St. Katharine." Church Register.
5. Prior to the Reformation, in England the Virgin was always represented with the Holy Child. As this Church was dedicated to St. Mary, it may fairly be assumed that the figure on the bracket is intended for the Virgin and Child, although only the folds of the drapery are now distinctly visible.
6. Foot-note by J. T. Godfrey.