History of Buildings

The Church

It is said that 5 Churches have been built on the site of the present church. St Leonard's Church was mainly built in the 13th Century.

Of the 12th-century building only the nave now remains, and this retains one of its original windows (the small lancet in the north-east corner). The chancel, which was no doubt smaller, was pulled down in the 13th century and the present one constructed.

The tower was added at the same time,but whether on the site of an earlier one is not known.

In the wall behind the War memorials was located a doorway. This can clearly be seen from outside. This was known as the 'Devils Door'. In the early days of the Church this door would always be opened at a time of baptism in order 'to let the Devil out.

The roof is of old timber in the simple banqueting hall style used by builders of the Early English period. The transverse beam nearest the altar is thought to be one of the original timbers. The porch was built in 1738 to replace a wooden affair which was quite “ffalln down”. It features a sundial carrying the inscription “Life’s but a walking shadow” and was a gift by William Benson Earle in 1785.

Part of the work in the tower is Saxon and the 3 courses of brick are thought to be Roman.

There is a note in the registers that the wooden spire was half carried away by wind in 1781, but it was repaired and the vane was regilded in the same year. Storms caused major damage again in 1795 and 1818 and the spire has long since disappeared.

Much restoration work was done in 1851, including resurfacing the walls and inserting several new windows. The weathering of a slightly higher nave roof shows outside against the east wall of the tower. a further extensive programme was undertaken in 1981, when some positively dangerous faults were corrected, and the stained window glass was incorporated into the glazing.