17.—THE MONUMENTS, ETC., IN THE PARISH CHURCH AND CHURCHYARD.
The Norman Font.—The only object of outstanding and extraordinary interest in the Parish Church is the Norman Font. This ancient font, dating from about the year 1100, undoubtedly belonged to Lenton Priory, and thus, in its present position, it constitutes the one binding link between the modern parish church and the old. It is one of the finest specimens in the country. It was probably placed in the old parish church, which stood on the site of the present Priory Church, at the dissolution of the Priory. For some years it was in the possession of the Stretton family, but it was restored by them to the church, when the new church was being erected in 1842. Meanwhile it had been used as a flower vase in Colonel Stretton's garden. The story of its restoration was told by the Rev. George Browne in the parish magazine in March, 1875. The Vicar was being shown round the Priory gardens by Brownlow, the old parish clerk, when he noticed this font in use as a garden decoration, but covered with weeds and filled with rubbish.
The Vicar records the occasion as follows:—
"That is a strange object," said I, turning to my companion, "is it part of the old ruins? What purpose did it serve with the Friars of past times? Was it their punch-bowl, such as we have seen at Warwick Castle?"
"Oh," said Tom, " that is the baptism font that was years agone in that 'ere church," pointing to the poor tumbling-down fabric that was then honoured by the epithet of the Parish Church.
"The font," I said, " and how came it there?"
"Oh," replied the old clerk, laughing, " the churchwardens made a present of it to the late Master Stretton."
"A present of it," I answered, "how could that be? What right had they to give it away?"
"Well, don't you see, sir," said Brownlow, " Master Stretton was a 'quarian, so the folks said."
"A 'quarian?" I said," what is that? Do you mean that he was a queer one?"
"Oh no," said Brownlow," he was a good sort of man enough, but he was one of them folks that are fond of old things, and true enough he must have fancied old things when he took to that font."
"But how was that?" I asked, " Tell me about it."
"Well," continued Brownlow, scratching his head, "Master Stretton was a 'quarian, and he came to the churchwardens one day, and he said ' Why, friends, that ugly old machine is too big and unsightly for the church. It takes up more room than it's worth. Give it to me, and I will put you a better one in.' So the bargain was struck, a new one came to the church, and so far as form and beauty go, the less said about that the better, and off went the old font to the Priory gardens." (This new " Stretton Font " was probably a wooden one).
"Well," I said," that is a strange tale. But what did Master Stretton want with it? What did he do with it?"
"Oh," rejoined my friend, " he made it a pot for bedding plants, and I have seen geraniums and other tender herbs growing in it."
The Vicar immediately wrote to Colonel Stretton, the then owner of Lenton Priory, stating the case, and asking him to restore to the parish church what rightly belonged to it, no one having any right to give it away. He gladly consented, and the font was removed to the Priory churchyard, where it was used as an umbrella stand by the careless and irreverent, until it was put in the new parish church.
It has already been noted that in the parish church it stood, first, on four pedestals, in front of the old pulpit and reading desk, near the chancel. Thence it was removed, later, to a position by the West door, where it remained until 1904, when, through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Player, it was moved to its present position at the West end of the north aisle, suitably mounted on base steps of marble and oak, and fitted with an oak and wrought iron decorated cover. At the same time a portion of the West wall behind the font was tiled in the same style as the present reredos, in which an inset tablet bears the following inscription: —
"To the Glory of God, and in remembrance of His Mercies, the base steps and cover of the Font were given by William and Mabel Player. A.D. 1904."
The ancient font.
The font is square, measuring 34 x 28 X 30 inches deep and is richly carved on all four sides. Although much worn by the ravages of time the carvings are clearly discernible, and there are still traces of the panels having been painted in red and blue.
On the side now facing East there is carved at the top a row of Cherubim, under them a row of Seraphim, and beneath, all the four Evangelists, and a central panel depicting the Baptism of Christ by John. The Holy Ghost in dove-like form is seen descending, and Christ uplifts His hands in prayer.
On the South side there is a remarkable portrayal of the Crucifixion. Angels swinging censers are depicted above. The central cross occupied by the Christ is much larger than the other two. The Roman soldier is piercing Christ's side with his spear. The soul of the penitent thief appears as a small figure emerging from the mouth and soaring upwards, while the soul of the impenitent thief is shown as falling into the open jaws of a large dragon waiting to receive it.
On the West side are four panels, the first of which represents the Resurrection of Christ, who holds up his hand in blessing, with the rays of glory about his head; the angel is sitting upon the stone which had been rolled away from the mouth of the sepulchre; and there are seen many skulls, significant of the charnel house. In the second panel we have a strangely combined view of the Entombment and Resurrection. A brutal looking Roman soldier is putting on the coffin lid, underneath which lies the swathed figure of the Crucified; while the Christ Himself, with hands uplifted in blessing, stands above. Two angels are seen seated on the left. The third panel shows the three women coming, on the first Easter morn, to the Sepulchre, bearing in their hands spices and ointments. The fourth panel gives a view of the Holy Sepulchre guarded by an angel seated on the right. This portrayal of the Sepulchre as it existed before the Crusades, at which latter period it had been destroyed by the Moslems, would seem to suggest that the font was carved by some person who had visited the Holy Land.
On the north side we have an elaborately decorated cross.
The bowl measures 30 inches by 26 inches and is 18 inches deep. It is quatrefoil in form, and evidently was intended for the practice of immersion.
The remaining monuments, ornaments and furnishings of the church are modern and chiefly are only of local interest.
The Windows.—The East Window is of a rather unusual type. It is a three-light window, decorated with a profusion of flowers and fruit, among which is written the text: "For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are in it to spring forth, so the Lord will cause righteousness and peace to spring forth before all the nations." Along the bottom is inscribed, "Erected by his sons, friends, and tenants, in memory of Francis Wright, Esq., the Founder of this church, Born December 21st, 1806, Died February 24th, 1873."
In the north aisle is the South African War Memorial Window. This window was erected by public subscription collected from the inhabitants of Lenton in 1900 and 1901, and is in honour of sixty-three men who went out from the parish to take part in the South African campaign, and in memory of seven of that number who laid down their lives. The names and regiments of the latter are found on the brass tablet under the window. The window was unveiled by Earl Roberts, V.C., K.G., Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, on November 7th, 1901. The subjects depicted are as follow:
- The Soldier going forth to battle. David is seen going out to meet Goliath, trusting in the righteousness of his cause, eschewing Saul's proffered armour, which lies at his feet, and going in reliance upon God. I Sam., xvii.
- The Soldier on the Watch. Joshua, making his sentry round by night in the vicinity of the walls of Jericho, which are seen in the distance, is confronted by the angel of the Lord who assures him of His guidance and protection. Joshua v.
- The Soldier in Battle. The host of Israel,
commanded by Joshua, is seen contending with Amelek on the plain, while
Moses, Aaron, and Hur are interceding in their behalf on the mountain
top. Exodus xvii.
(During the South African Campaign, Intercessory Services on behalf of our forces were held monthly in this church, and were generally crowded. The first was held on February 11th, 1900, which, strange to say, was the very day when the tide, which had long been adverse to us, began to turn in our favour, the capitulation at Paardeburg following a few days later).
- The Soldiers Return. David and Saul returning from the Philistinian campaign and welcomed by the plaudits of the people. I Sam. xviii.
The Latin quotation, which is shown, is from Horace, and runs:—"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," i.e., A sweet and fitting thing it is to die for one's country.
The other stained glass window in the north aisle is inscribed:—
"To the Glory of God, and in memory of Henry Kirk, who died April 10th, 1911, this window is erected by his loving sister, Anne Carver."
It is a two-light window containing four pictures, being representations of the Good Shepherd, the Good Samaritan, the Talents, and S. Lawrence, bearing the grid-iron, the instrument of his torture. [S. Lawrence was deacon to Pope Sixtus II, both of whom were tortured to death by the Emperor Valerian (A.D. 253-269), the former, so legend says, by burning over a slow fire.] Henry Kirk left £500 to the National Schools.
There are three stained glass windows in the south aisle. The first is the Brewill window. This window, erected in conformity with the will of Mrs. Jane Sharp, is in memory of Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Brewill, late of Lenton, the parents of the testatrix. The subjects are suggested by Hebrews xi and are as follow:—
- Obtained Promises. The aged Simeon and Anna, the recipients of such gracious promises, welcoming the Christ-Child at His Presentation in the Temple. An ancient tradition states that the day of Christ's presentation in the earthly temple was the day of Simeon's presentation in the heavenly temple, and that his Nunc Dimittis was his swan song uttered just before his death.
- Out of Weakness were made Strong. Peter, after his denial and repentance, receives again his commission at the Sea of Galilee. Our Lord is bidding him "Feed my sheep, feed my lambs."
- Wrought Righteousness. Peter and John healing the impotent man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. Acts iii.
- Of whom the world was not worthy. Paul is here depicted preaching on the steps of the Castle of Antonia, having been rescued from the mob in the Temple of the Roman Governor and General, both of whom are seen in the background. He was for a while allowed to speak, but as soon as he mentions his mission to the heathen world, with one accord the maddened Jews exclaim: "Away with such a fellow from the earth, it is not fit that he should live." Acts xxii.
The second window is the Adams Window. It was erected in memory of Mr. Thomas Adams, of Lenton Firs, by his friends and neighbours.
The subjects represented are :—
- The humble Publican contrasted with the proud Pharisee. Luke xviii.
- The Prodigal's Return, and the father's welcome. Luke xv.
- The Faithful Steward. Luke xix.
- The Good Samaritan. Luke x.
The small window in the south-east wall was erected with the small balance left after defraying the cost of the larger window. It is called the "Timothy Window," being a portrayal of Timothy being instructed in the Scriptures by his mother, Eunice. It is inscribed: "Sp'us Sa's Pater Filius," i.e., Father, Son and Holy Spirit. "From a child hast thou known the scriptures." In the book: "All flesh is grass, and the glory of man as the flower of grass."
Thomas Adams, of Lenton Firs, born at Worksop in 1807, became a foremost lace merchant of Nottingham. His warehouse is noted for its private chapel, where services are still held. His directions regarding this were: "The chapel regulates the business: don't let the business extinguish the chapel. Let us give up everything which we cannot ask God to bless." Thomas Adams, for some years Warden of Lenton Parish Church, was a very generous supporter of the schools, the church, and foreign missions. A magistrate, a member of the Board of Guardians, and the Hospital Committee, he was greatly beloved for his philanthropy and for the excellence of his character. He died May 16th, 1873, aged 66, and was buried in the Valley of the Rocks, in the Church Cemetery. 10,000 people attended the funeral, and the parishioners of Lenton erected this memorial window. "Adam's Hill," Derby Road, is so named to his honour.
Another window to his memory is to be seen in S. Mary's Church, Nottingham.
The third window in the South aisle is the Ball window. It is thus inscribed: "This window was erected to the Glory of God and to the memory of their loved mother, by her sons, Frederick and Albert Ball, 1914." The subjects represented are:—
- " Behold the handmaid of the Lord." (The Annunciation).
- "A Saviour which is Christ the Lord." (The Birth of Christ).
- "All were astonished at His understanding." (The Boy Jesus in the Temple).
- " Whatsoever He saith unto you do it." (The Wedding in Cana).
Mural Tablets.—On the north-east wall are several tablets, three of which are to the memory of members of the Wright family. The first bears the family crest, which is made up of a unicorn's head argent, erased gules, armed and maned, or, charged on the neck with three spear heads. It bears the following inscription: —
"In affectionate memory of John Wright of Lenton Hall, Esquire, who died April 21st, 1840, aged 81 years."
"And of Elizabeth, his wife, eldest daughter of Francis Beresford, Esquire, of Ashbourne, who died December 18th, 1833, aged 74 years."
"Also of Annie, wife of Richard Perrin, Esq., and niece of the above, who died at Lenton Hall, in 1838, and was interred in the same vault in the old churchyard."
"'Come now let us reason together, said the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.' Isaiah iv, 18."
The second one reads:—
"In loving memory of Hilda Dorothy Price, who died at Karachi, India, Nov. 23rd, 1913, aged 32 years, after an operation, most bravely borne, daughter of Frederick Wright, J.P., formerly of Lenton Hall, and wife of Edwin Lessware Price, to whom she bare two sons."
" 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.' Psalm 23."
The third one placed there in 1930 is inscribed:—
"In ever loving memory of Frederick Wright, late of Lenton Hall, 26 years Churchwarden of this parish, who died September 4th, 1916, and of his wife Joyce, who died November 29th, 1920.
" 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.' "
There are two tablets to the memory of members of the Crewdson family, viz. : —
"Laus Deo. In loving memory of Dorothea Mary Lynette Crewdson, V.A.D., Asst. Nurse, A.R.R.C., M.M., who died at Etaples, 12 March, 1919, aged 32, after nearly four years work in France.
" 'The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.' "
"In loving memory of Henry Crewdson, for many years Churchwarden and Choirmaster of this church. Born at Kendal, 13th October, 1852. Died at Algeciras, 11th April, 1924. And of Margaret Croom, his wife, Born at Glasgow, 26th October, 1858, Died at Nottingham, 4th March, 1926."
Another tablet is inscribed:—
"In loving remembrance of Annie Mary Bradley Bayley, second daughter of Henry Farmer, and wife of Thomas Bayley, M.P., who died at Langar Hall, Notts., August 23rd, 1904.
' In sure and certain faith of a glorious resurrection.' "
" 'Man at her side grew nobler, girls purer, as through the whole town, the children were gladder that pulled at her gown.' "
The last tablet on this wall reads:—
"Schola Regia Granthamiensis. To the Glory of God, and in loving memory of Leslie Stanley, son of Frank William, and Millicent Coy Johnson of Dunkirk House, Notts., Born 5th October, 1889, Died 5th February, 1903. This tablet is erected as a tribute of love by his schoolfellows and masters at King Edward VI School, Grantham.
'Suffer little children to come unto Me.' "
The following tablets are on the south wall:—
A tablet, surmounted with a crest and motto, is thus inscribed:—
Crest: A talbot passant sable, semee of cinque-foils, or, resting the dexter paw upon a mullet of the last.
Motto: "Animo Fideque. To the memory of their beloved Father, Thomas Adams, of Lenton Firs, J.P. for the Borough and County of Nottingham. This tablet is erected by his grateful children. He was born 5th February, 1807. Fell asleep in Jesus, May 16th, 1872, and was buried in the Church Cemetery.
"He was a faithful man and feared God above many." Hebrews vii, 2.
"By the grace of God I am what I am." I Cor. xv, 10. Also in memory of their beloved mother Lucy Adams, Born August 28th, 1807, died August 28th, 1874." "Safe in the arms of Jesus."
"The Righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance." Psalm 122, 6."
A second tablet bears this inscription:—
"To the Glory of God, and to the memory of James Harvey. Born 13th December, 1832. Died, 17th September, 1910. Sidesman of this church 1876-1910, Warden 1883-1888 and 1908-1909. II Chrons. xxxi, 21."
Another memorial takes the form of a plaque of the Good Shepherd, and is inscribed :—
"Gwendolen Hollick. Died Nov. 22nd, 1901. Interred in Church Cemetery, November 26th, 1901, aged 9 years 9 months."
The fourth tablet on this walls bears the following:—
"In affectionate remembrance of Alice Stickley Linsley, the dearly beloved wife of John Thomas Linsley of Redcourt, Lenton, Notts., who departed this life March 25th, 1920, aged 56 years. "Peace, she is not dead, she hath awakened from the dream of life."
The following tablets are on the North Wall: —
"Per Ardua ad Astra. In loving memory of Captain Albert Ball, V.C., D.S.O. with two bars, M.C., Chevalier Legion of Honour, Russian Order of St. George, etc. Honorary Freeman of the City of Nottingham. Eldest son of Alderman Sir Albert Ball and Lady Ball, who passed over May 7th, 1917, at Annoeullin, France, aged twenty years."
The tablet is decorated with the Royal Arms, and five medals of distinction.
Captain Albert Ball was the most famous airman that the Great War produced. Col. John Buchan wrote of him, "All records were excelled by the British airman, Captain Albert Ball, formerly of the Sherwood Foresters. When not yet twenty he had taken part in over a hundred aerial combats, and had accounted for over thirty German machines. His life was fated to be as short as it was heroic, for he perished in the Spring offensive of 1917, after having destroyed for certain forty-one enemy 'planes, with ten more practically certain, and many others where the likelihood was strong. No greater marvel of skill and intrepidity has been exhibited by any service, in any army, in any campaign in the history of the world."
Appreciations of him were written by H.M. the King, the Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George, Earl Haig, Generals Higgins and Trenchard, and world-wide tributes paid him, as well by enemies as by friends. His record stands unsurpassed, as was said of another fearless warrior, " Little need to speak of Lancelot in his glory, King, Duke, Earl, Baron, whom he smote, he overthrew."
His grave is at Annoeullin, five miles east of La Basse. He hated the war, and longed for peace and home, church-going and fishing being much more in his line. He received the V.C. posthumously, and it was presented to his parents at Buckingham Palace, by His Majesty the King, on July 22nd, 1917. A statue to his memory was erected by the city in the Castle grounds and a portrait of him hangs in the Art Gallery there.
There is a second tablet on this wall, as follows: —
"Sacred to the memory of Joseph Fenton, who died March 22nd, 1853, aged 67 years, and of Ann his wife, who died December 14th, 1853, aged 60 years.
' Enter not into judgment with thy servant O Lord, for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified. ' "
There are four tablets to the memory of members of the family of the Rev. Geo. Browne, the first Vicar of the new church, one on the north wall, and three on the north-east wall.
" In loving memory of George Browne, M.A., for 46 years Vicar of this parish. Born May 31st, 1803, Fell asleep November 13th, 1886. ' He preached unto them Jesus.' Acts xvii, 10."
" In affectionate remembrance of Elizabeth Anne, the beloved wife of the Rev. George Browne, Vicar of this parish. She fell asleep December 8th, 1870, aged 69 years. 'Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.' "
" In loving memory of Francis Browne, B.A., late Vicar of Christ Church, Enfield, and some time Curate of this parish. Born October 7th, 1844, fell asleep in Jesus, August 8th, 1879. ' He walked with God, and was not, for God took him.'
' To be with Christ which is far better.' "
"Also to the memory of William John, who died May 31st 1858, aged 2 years, Edward, who died May 18th, 1842, aged 12 years, James Peter, died January 14th, 1844, aged 6 months, and Dennis George, died February 19th, 1848, aged 19 years. The beloved children of the Rev. George and Elizabeth Anne Browne.
' I will pour out my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thy offspring.' Isaiah 44, 3."
There are no other mural tablets in the church, but the panels of the pulpit inserted since its erection are in memory of various people. Brass plates are inscribed :—
" To the memory of H. N. and E. Pownall. This panel is given by their son and daughter, A. H. and E. Snartt, 19021"
"In loving memory of the four sons of Thos. and Annie Clark. 1902."
The Lectern bears the following inscription: "To the Glory of God, in loving memory of Annie Kirk, who for many years worshipped in this sanctuary. 'She walked with God and was not, for God took her.' 'To be with Christ which is far better.' "
The Lectern Bible contains the following inscription:—
Rev. Alan Hunter
Frederick Wright, Henry Crewdson,
The Gift of Henry and Margaret Crewdson.
The same inscription appears in one of the Books of Common Prayer on the Clergy Stall. Another Prayer Book for the use of the Clergy is inscribed:—
Rev. A. H. Watts, Vicar.
Lenton Parish Church.
Rev. C. D. Powell, LL.D., M.A.,
Rev. W. Clements, M.A.,
Henry Crewdson and Frederick Wright, Churchwardens.
Presented by Mr. S. H. Bentley In memory of his wife, June 29th, 1910."
The Altar Service Books are inscribed :—
"In affectionate remembrance of Alice Stickley Linsley, the dearly beloved wife of John Thomas Linsley, of Redcourt, Lenton, Notts., for 14 years a constant worshipper in this church, who died March 25th, 1920, aged 56 years.
'Peace to the gentle! She hath sought the bosom of her Lord.' "
A Missal Stand is inscribed: "In loving memory of John Alexander Hollings, for many years a chorister, and zealous churchworker in this parish. Fell asleep June 28th, 1889. Presented by C. A. Kirk and S. A. Willey."
Interesting photographs, and a list of the Vicars, Curates, Churchwardens and Organists connected with the new Parish Church may be seen in the nave.
Charities.—In the gallery is a board, removed from the old parish church, recording the following charitable bequest: —
"1781, Mrs. Reb. Garland left to the Vicar and Churchwardens of Lenton, for the time being, Ten Pounds, the interest to be given in bread on S. Thomas's Day, to such poor persons as do not receive parochial relief."
Why the date 1781 is given is inexplicable. Reference to the Garland pedigree shows that Rebecca Garland died in 1769, and was buried in the old parish church of Lenton in January of that year.
Annie Carver left £1,000 for the upkeep of the churchyard.
The interest on the £100 invested in the Henry Crewdson Memorial Fund is devoted to the purchase and repair of church music, hymn-books, etc.
The Wright Charity provides £25 per annum for the expenses of the Mission Hall, Manfull Street.
The Bells.—Previous to the year 1856 the Tower contained only one bell, but in that year five additional bells were placed therein, through the liberality of Mr. John Shaw, Churchwarden. The bells are in the key of A, and although somewhat deficient in weight are musical in tone.
The bells are thus inscribed : —
First (or Treble): "Lord have mercy upon us."
Second: "Christ have mercy upon us."
Third: "Lord have mercy upon us."
Fourth: "O Lord save the Queen."
Fifth: "Thomas Mears, Founder, London, 1842.
Sixth (or Tenor): "Hallelujah."
In addition to these inscriptions, each of the bells, with the exception of the fifth( the old bell), has upon it: —
"George Browne, Vicar.
Thomas Hopkins, Curate.
Thomas Adams, Lace Merchant. John Shaw, Tanner, Fell Monger.
18 v(Crown) 56."
Two more bells were added in 1902. These were given by Frederick and Albert Ball, whose names are inscribed on them. The whole set was rehung by public subscription to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII. The treble and the second bell are discords, and the third bell is chipped to lessen the difference.
On August 25th, 1902, there was rung in this Tower a Peal of Stedman Triples, 5040 changes in three hours and three minutes. This was the first Peal of Stedman ever rung in the City of Nottingham. In 1920, a Norfolk Surprize Major was rung.
A set of handbells was supplied in 1925 by Sir Albert Ball, and Thomas Reddish, Churchwardens.
A Clock was placed in the Tower in 1844. It is illuminated by the Corporation, and in connection with the bells plays the Cambridge chimes at the hours and quarters. The clock was restored in 1881, when the Cambridge chimes were introduced, and the Corporation adopted it as a public clock.
A weather cock which should have been put up was stolen just before the work was to be done, and the thief was never discovered. (W.E.O.).
Vestry.—The Vestry contains the Communion Plate, which is all silver, and of the same date as the church. It consists of two chalices, two patens, and a flagon. There is also an iron safe-chest of considerable antiquity and interest. It has the appearance of having been highly decorated at one time. It was probably transferred from the old parish church.
There are no monuments of outstanding interest in the graveyard. The earliest is dated November 4th, 1842, and marks the grave of a boy of 12, named George Townsend.
The churchyard was enlarged in 1859. By an order of the Privy Council, dated March 20th, 1857, it was directed that, from and after the first of April following, burials should be discontinued in Lenton New Churchyard, and in the burial ground adjoining within three yards of the church, " with the exception of the now existing vaults and walled graves which can be opened without disturbing soil that has already been buried in, and in which each coffin shall be embedded in a layer of powdered charcoal, four inches thick, and be separately entombed in an airtight manner," and that, "with the exception of vaults and family graves only one body be buried in a grave, and that with the same exception, no grave be re-opened."