St Bartholomew's Church, Leigh

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This attractive fifteenth century church (click on picture) built of Reigate stone stands at the edge of Leigh village green.  Parts of the church probably date back to an earlier century.  The ancient oak beside the lych-gate is said to be five hundred years old.

In 1980 the stone belltower and wooden belfry were replaced by the present tower and bellcote.  In the chancel, the entrance to the vestry is the original priest's doorway, predating the vestry.

All the original timbers were replaced in 1855, when, it is thought, the old box pews were removed.  The manorial stalls with poppy-head ends, and the pulpit are said to have been made from wood of a single elm felled on the Leigh Place estate.
The general plan can be seen by clicking on:  

The roofs of the nave and chancel have been well restored and decorated with carved bosses copied from originals.  The covering is of Horsham stone.

The windows in the nave and chancel are more or less original of the Perpendicular period.  The glass is all Victorian.  The east window by Kempe 1890 is particularly fine, this being a sensitive portrayal of the Crucifixion.

In the sanctuary are to be found the four Gospel writers.  In the south wall are St Matthew and St Luke, and in the north are St Mark and St John.   In the chancel are St Peter and St Paul.

In the south wall of the nave, nearest the chancel arch, are Faith, Hope and Charity; and near the gallery, the Resurection, "Rabboni: Mary".  Beside the pulpit is a charming "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, - for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven".

In the chancel hang the hatchments of the Dendy family of Leigh Place; also of James William Freshfield who built Mynthurst*.  The term "hatchments" is usually applied to armorial bearings enclosed in a black lozenge-shaped frame and hung on the wall of the deceased person's house at death and later transferred to the Parish Church.

Click on picture for view of the choir and east window.  Freshfield memorial is on the right of the picture.
* See History Page for Mynthurst history

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Beneath the chancel arch is a "ledger" slab with the following interesting inscription: "Here lyeth the Revd. Mr Jacob Marchant: a French Refugee, late Minister of this Parish, who died June the 1 A.D. 1720 aged 75 years".

The War Memorial beside the South door commemorates the fourteen men from this parish who gave their lives in the two World Wars.

The Font
The Font at the west end is a pleasing copy of the older font which it replaced, a damaged fragment of which was discovered in a neighbouring cottage garden, and returned, to a corner of the church.

The church has a peal of six bells.  The original four were re-cast in 1889 by Mears and Stainbank of Whitechapel and re-hung in the present belfry.  New tenor and treble bells to complete the peal of six were added by members of the Charington family who were responsible for the last restoration.

Members of the Parish have made a number of kneelers in recent years, and there is an active broderers group in Leigh.

Click on the picture to see one of the kneelers depicting the bell ropes.

The beautiful little church is, above all, a place of worship, and can best be appreciated when an act of worship is in progress.

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