All Saints Church

All Saints Church, officially All Saints with Holy Trinity is the Church of England parish church of the town of Loughborough, Leicestershire within the Diocese of Leicester. The church itself is sited in the oldest part of the town with the oldest fabric dating to the 14th century (around 1330) but it may well have replaced an earlier Saxon and Norman structure on the site. The church’s location is significant. It is situated on the highest part of the ancient town, reflected in the names Sparrow (meaning ‘little’) Hill and Toothill (from the Saxon ‘tot’ meaning lookout, or watching post). Even today the tower commands extensive views over the town of Loughborough and out towards Charnwood Forest. The principal streets of medieval Loughborough formed a box to the south of the church and are revealed in the names Church Gate, Pinfold Gate, High Gate (now High Street) and Wood Gate. The word ‘gate’ derives from the Danish word ‘gata’ meaning ‘the way’ or ‘route’. These, then, were the gates into what was once probably a fortified settlement or ‘berh’. It was once widely believed that the town’s name derived from being near or on a lake or ‘lough’, but this theory has now been discredited. The Oxford Dictionary of Place Names suggests that the first part of the town’s name derives from a person’s name, ‘Lehedes’. Thus Lehede’s fortified settlement or ‘Lehede’s burh’ and thence ‘Loughborough’. Surrounding the church in those days lay the manor house and ancient guildhall on the south side, and to the east an inn now called The Windmill, reputedly Loughborough’s oldest public house. On the west side was the Rectory, a grand home for the parish priest from the thirteenth century un l 1958. Its remains are now a small museum. There is a suggestion that this was, originally, the first manor house on the site. The church has a grand west tower, two storey south porch, nave, north and south aisles, transepts and chancel with later additions. It is for all intents a large parish church that has grown with the fortunes of the town. The west tower with its pinnacles dates from around 1450 when it was heightened and the clerestory added. Le : Looking down into the church from the restoration works. Above: Peace and Motherhood from the WW1 memorial. Right: The West Tower of All Saints as drawn by artist Paul Gent for People Making Places.


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