Historic buildings in Church Street
A) The War Shrine
On the corner of North Street and Church Street once stood a memorial to the men who fell in the First World war (see the photograph in John and Barry Wilford's book: Bygone Barrow-upon-Soar). The memorial was later replaced by the one which now stands in Industry Square. Before the War Shrine was built there was a very picturesque thatched cottage on the site. (A photograph of this also appears in Barry and John Wilford's book).
B) Holy Trinity Church
The most prominent and oldest building in the street is Holy Trinity Church. Originally Barrow church was the mother church of three chapels at Quorn, Woodhouse and Mountsorrel. These became parish churches in 1868. Today Barrow forms one parish with Walton le Wolds.
There has probably been a church on this site for 850 years. It is mentioned in twelfth century documents from Leicester Abbey. The four round pillars in the nave date from the 12th century, the two quatrefoil piers were entirely rebuilt in 1969. It was very heavily restored in 1863, when the chancel was rebuilt at a cost of £1000. Work was also done on the tower which caused it to collapse a week before Christmas. The work was finally completed and the church was reopened on All Saints Day 1870. The east window inserted in 1890 ( by Powell & Co.) contains, under the four evangelists, the arms of three local figures: Theophilus Cave, Dr. Humphrey Babington and Bishop William Beveridge. The fourth coat of arms is that of St John's College Cambridge, the patrons of the parish. The large chancel has fine carved choir stalls (1918 a gift in memory of Frank Cresswell who was killed in the First World War), turned 17th century altar rails and an ornate stone reredos depicting the Last Supper. There is also a memorial to Theophilus Cave with an interesting inscription:
Here in this Grave there lyes a Cave,
We call a Cave a Grave,
If Cave be Grave and Grave be Cave
Then reader Judge I Crave
Whether doth Cave here lye in GraveOr Grave here Lye in Cave!
If Grave in Cave here buried lye
Then Grave where is thy Victorie?
Goe Reader and Report here Lyes a Cave
Who conquers Death and Buries his own Grave.
Theophilus Cave was a very committed churchman. His nephew Humphrey Babington, founder of the Old Men's Hospital, remembered his uncle's devotion and in his will left money for Bibles to be given to poor children who could read. They were to be embossed with the words, The Gift of Theophilus Cave Esq.
On the North side are the charity boards describing the numerous parish charities, including the founding of the Old Men's Hospital in 1694 and Humphrey Perkins School. The first recorded vicar is Willam de Hungarton (1227) and the list is complete up to the present date. In 1981 the WI did a thorough survey of the gravestones. The oldest one recorded is that of John Thompson "who departed this life in the 94th year of his age December 29th 1688. Opposite the west door of the church is a memorial to another local family: John Sydney Crossley who was the engineer for the railway line which runs through Barrow-upon-Soar. He was born in Loughborough on Christmas day 1812 and was orphaned when he was four. He was apprenticed to Edward Staveley who was the engineer of the Leicester Navigation Company and eventually became Engineer in Chief of the Midland Railway Company. (For more detail see Who's buried where in Leicestershire. Joyce Lee 1991 pub. Leicestershire Libraries). The Lych Gate and the reredos at the church are dedicated to his memory.
In the Garden of Rest is the grave of Andrew Dolep, gunsmith to his late Royal Highness Prince George of Denmarke late consort to her present Majesty Queen Anne. Weapons by Dolep can be found in the finest armoury collections in the world. No one knows how he came to be buried in Barrow.
Since 1989 part of the churchyard has been left un-mown throughout the spring and early summer, and cut at the end of June, emulating a traditional haymaking regime. At the beginning of the Nature Conservation project 60 different plants were identified. One of the interesting features of Holy Trinity churchyard is the large colony of mining bees, which thrive in sandy soil. These bees do not swarm or make hives but live solitary lives digging into the soil, laying a few eggs at the bottom of small channels. When the bees emerge in April small molehills, an inch or two high can be seen around the areas of the meadow saxifrage plants.
Much of the information included here is taken from leaflets which are available in the Church.
C) The Old Vicarage
The house on the left hand side of Holy Trinity Church, as you face it, is the Old Vicarage. It is now a private residence. It is an 18th century house and was home to the vicar until 1946. Canon Dew, the then vicar, was convinced that his daughter's illness was caused by the dampness of the house and the church bought No.1 High Street as the new vicarage. There is still a gate in the wall to allow the vicar to go from his garden to the church. There is a reputed tunnel entrance (now blocked up) in the cellar, which some say is linked with a tunnel from Bishop Beveridge House in Beveridge Street (see Beveridge Street Houses) to the church.
D) Old Men's Hospital
In his will of 1666 Humphrey Babington left monies to build a home to house "six poor widowers or bachelors to be selected from among the aged and impotent persons of good character from Barrow and Quorndon in the proportion of five from the former to one from the latter". The occupants were to be called Theophilus Cave's bedesmen, an indication of the respect Babington had for his uncle. Each bedesman was issued with a blue cloak faced with white and was required to attend church every Sunday. The original building was a single storey of local granite. A second storey was added in 1802 to house five extra bedesmen. The house has been modernised more recently and now provides self contained accommodation for seven older gentlemen. The rather ornate carved stone gateway at the front of the building hails from when it was originally constructed and over the gateway is an inscription in Latin which reads, in translation: "Whatever memorial there may be of love and devotion to God and love for the poor, the righteous Theophilus Cave Esq. of Barrow on Soar has outshone by his supreme example. Further as a memorial to his outstanding faith and to his relation Humphrey Babington, Master of Philosophy, Trinity College, Cambridge, this house was built in A.D. 1694 ". Money was also used from this trust to build the Old Women's Hospital in North Street.
E) Former House adjacent Old Men's Hospital in Church Street
This splendid old dwelling was situated in Church Street on the site now occupied by Nos 12 & 14, adjacent to the Old Men's Hospital and opposite Holy Trinity Church. The lady in the picture is Kate West with her nephew Herbert from Leicester, who were respectively aunt and cousin to Mrs Jean Eyre who still lives in the village (and who kindly provided the photo). The West family lived in the left-hand side of the property using the front door for access, and another family (Friar?) lived in the right-hand side with an entrance at the side where there is still a drive. There was a shared tap for water, and two, two-hole privies at the back. The father, Joseph West, had 13 children and four maiden daughters lived there until being re-housed in Cave Road when the house was pulled down in the 1950's. The plot was offered as a site for the Village Hall by Captain Huston of Bishop Beveridge but the offer was turned down and it was sold for building the pair of semi's which stand there today.
There is another photo of this old dwelling dressed with flags and bunting, probably taken at the end of the 1st World War.
F) The Blacksmith's Workshop
The picture is of the Blacksmith's workshop and cottage which is next to the Roundhouse at the corner of Church Street and Beveridge Street. Mr Turlington was the last village blacksmith in Barrow until he retired in the 1950's. Older residents of the village remember him working there as they left Hall Orchard School.
G) The Pinfold
This was situated between the Smithy and Hall Orchard School, to the left of the cottages in the picture.It was a small fenced area where stray animals were impounded.. The owners had to pay a small fine for their release. On the back of the book Bygone Barrow upon Soar ( Barry & John Wilford 1981) there is a photograph of Mr Charles Hallam who, among his many roles in the village, was the pinder. He died in 1928 at the ripe old age of 94.
H) Hall Orchard School
The Rev. W.L. Newham, the vicar of Barrow who had been a schoolmaster before he was ordained, realised that Humphrey Perkins Grammar School was not providing adequately for all the children in the village. In 1859 he set up a school for the children of labourers and factory workers. He received a government grant and some financial help from two or three rich supporters. The school was built near the church on the edge of a field. This building is now the infant annexe. The school was put in the charge of Mr John Dixon who was uncertificated and whose only help was his wife. There were 80 children whose parents paid 2d per week. The children sat on a long row of backless benches on a rising gallery. Mr. Dixon sat in front with his cane and whistle. School was not compulsory at this time so there was no formal registration. Because it was a church school the children were required to learn passages of scripture and the collect for the day. Some parents objected to this and when the fee rose to 3d they took their children away to the Catholic school which opened in 1865 (and closed in 1887) Numbers rose quickly and by 1863 there were 150 children. The teacher needed some help and he used the older pupils as monitors. The number of boys far exceeded that of girls, who were probably needed at home. When they were at school the girls spent their afternoons doing needlework. In the early days the girls brought stocking seaming to school but this was eventually forbidden. Truancy was a problem because children were often needed at home for potato picking, cleaning or generally helping at home. Truancy was punished severely by caning. Infectious diseases were a constant problem recorded in the school log book: diptheria, small pox, scarlet fever, influenza affected attendance. This information is taken from notes provided by Helen Langley using the school log books. (Since lost; they do not appear in the list of documents at the Record Office)
I) Church Lane
This lane is now the jitty which runs alongside the church and leads to North Street. The Garden of Remembrance which now contains many of the gravestones from the church yard has been laid out as a quiet place to sit under the trees. The gateway used to lead to a private path to the Old Women's Hospital to allow the residents to attend church. The cottages overlooking the garden are largely 18th & 19th century with one example of a 16th or 17th century timber framed building (No 13). The original Humphrey Perkins Grammar School was established in 1735 in what is now the Conservative Club which can be accessed via the gateway from Church Lane.
J) Old Cottages Church Street
These cottages form the rear boundary of the Garden of Rest and date mainly from the 18th century. The timber-framed end cottage nearest the camera is thought to be one of the oldest in Barrow, probably 17th century.
K) St Albans Church
St Alban's Church, situated on the corner of Highfields and Hollybush Lane, was built in 1839, only ten years after Catholic emancipation. Since the Elizabethan Religious Settlement of the sixteenth century Catholics had not been able to worship freely. This right was restored in 1829. St Alban's is therefore one of the oldest post-reformation Catholic churches in the diocese of Nottingham (older in fact than the diocese itself which dates from 1850). Its building coincided with the building of the Midland railway when a large number of Irish navvies, who were Catholics, were employed to do the manual work. The land for the church and the building materials were given by a Mr. Worswick. The actual work of building was done by the Irish navvies. The church was served for many years by the Rosminian priests from St. Mary's Loughborough. The Rosminians are an Italian order who were invited to the area by the De Lisle family of Gracedieu Manor. One of the order, Fr Luigi Gentili, was a very charismatic and energetic preacher and there were very many converts to Catholicism in the area.
The church was closed around 1988 because it needed extensive repairs, it is now a family home. (a small book written by Fr. Claude Leetham tells the story of the church up to its centenary)
L) Hollybush Lane
Hollybush Lane is an ancient lane running straight on from the end of Church Street before the Highfields estate was built. It is now a jitty which runs beside the old St Albans Church to Breadcroft Lane. On the older maps of the village, the lane leads out to lime kilns. It takes its name from the hollybushes which used to grow along it .