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HER Ref:MLE14175
Parish:Tilton on the Hill and Halstead, Harborough, Leicestershire
Grid Reference:SK 474 305
Map:Coming soon

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Early Medieval to Modern - 1167 AD to 2050 AD)


Medieval church with some evidence for late C12th fabric - the priest's doorway in the south chancel wall and the lower parts of the west tower, with a good arch towards the nave. It was restored in 1854 when a medieval screen was removed.

Additional Information

Listed building description:
Parish Church. The fabric spans from the late C12 to C15. Well coursed ironstone rubble with limestone dressings. West tower and spire, nave with clerestory and 2 aisles, chancel. Tower of 3 stages, with angle quoins. Lowest stages probably late C12 with south doorway and lancet window to west. Lancets also in second stage. Paired C13 lights with plate tracery to bell chamber above. Embattled parapet with gargoyles, and recessed spire of C14, with 2 tiers of lucarnes. Clerestory is Perpendicular, with large 3-light windows with transoms forming 2 tiers. Continuous hoodmould. Parapet. South aisle is late C13 with 3 south windows of 3 stepped lancets, and west window of 3 lancets with foiled circle above. South door is a simply chamfered archway with hoodmould and string-course acting as capital. The porch is probably C15 or C16, 4-centred archway in squared hoodmould with coped gable, and sun dial in apex. South aisle is very wide with shallow pitched roof, and parapet with corbel table which continues across east and west gables. Buttresses capped by pinnacles, and gargoyles, all this detail a Perpendicular re-working. Also Perpendicular is the large 4-light east window. All windows have hoodmoulds with corbel heads.
Chancel dates partly from late C12, with a priest's door of that date, a small round archway. All other details are Perpendicular: low side window to south, 3-light north window, both with transoms. South east window of 3-lights is square headed. East window of 3-lights with transom forming 2 tiers. Parapet and corbel table, angle buttresses. Buttressed north aisle with pinnacles, gargoyles and corbel table below parapet. Blocked late Decorated north doorway, a many chamfered archway. East window of 2 trefoiled lights, the others of 3-lights are Perpendicular.
Inside, late C12 tower arch no longer central to alignment of church, with shafted responds, with stiff leaf capitals and square abaci, and 3 steps to arch. Nave arcades of 5 bays, the south the earlier, and late C13. Square bases to octagonal piers, single chamfered arches with chamfered hoodmoulds with corbel heads resting on the abaci. North arcade is similar but slightly later with double chamfered arches and hoodmould springing from higher corbel heads. There is another carved head at the apex of each arch. 2 of the capitals are elaborately carved: 1 with winged angels heads, the other with creeping
beasts, a lion, a monkey, a fox and a lamb. Nave roof has flat tie beams with bosses on struts springing from corbel heads. The roof timbers date from a restoration of 1854, but the bosses and corbel heads appear to be C15. C18 glazing in clerestory. Windows of south aisle are set in recesses with slender circular shafts, and are linked by a continuous sill course. C18 glazing to east window, and some fragments of medieval glass. Double piscina with fluted basin set in paired lancets. Aumbry, with chamfered 2-centred arched tomb recess. Roof has cambered tie beam supported from corbel heads. North aisle roof is a lean-to with corbel heads.
Double chamfered chancel arch with semi-octagonal responds is not central to nave alignment (the alignment of the church must have been altered when one of the existing aisles was added). Although all the windows in the chancel are Perpendicular, the sedilia predates them and is late Decorated, with 3 cusped ogee arches. Piscina. C18 altar rails, simply turned. Wall memorial tablet, late C16 to Augustin Nichols and his wife, painted marble, with 2 kneeling figures at a Prie Dieu in an aedicule with 12 children, 3 in shrouds, surmounted by strap work with human profiles, and a shield of arms. Large C17 tomb chest with heraldic emblems in high relief on each side, to William Nichols, d. 1625.
Other monuments to members of Digby family, 2 between south aisle and nave, to Sir John Digby and his wife, 1269. Chest tombs with large effigies: the knight is in chain mail with crossed legs and drawn sword. His wife lies with one arm by her side, one hand clutching a handkerchief, and has a very flat face with incised features. Both retain some fragments of colour. Against the south wall is the tomb of Sir Everard Digby, d.1509. Heavily sculpted knight's effigy on base with shields in quatrefoils with inscription.
Stone Victorian pulpit, 1854. C12 font, base with 8 circular shafts and square basin with chamfered corners, carved like a cushion capital.

Project Gargoyle survey work in 2011 recorded a great variety of carvings inside and outside, which are associated with different phases of construction from the 12th to 15th centuries. The south arcade of the nave is late 13th century and the north aisle slightly later (possibly early 14th century). There are two exceptional capitals on the north arcade – one depicting angels and the other depicting the parable of the fox and goose, also with a monkey and a lamb. Nave roof was restored in 1854 but the bosses and corbel heads appear to be 15th century originals. Most of the other corbels are probably 14th or 15th century, as are most of the exterior carvings. However the gargoyles on the parapet of the tower are 14th century. Among the many motifs depicted are two naked male contortionists (on the north and south aisle external friezes).

<1> Pevsner N, 1984, The Buildings of England Leicestershire and Rutland, p411 (Bibliographic reference). SLE4.

"ST PETER. The external character comes from a major Perpendicular remodelling, but there is clear evidence of the late C12 - the priest's doorway in the S chancel wall (round-arched with one slight chamfer) and the lower parts of the unbuttressed W tower, with an uncommonly good arch towards the nave. The shafts have decorated capitals, the S waterleaf, the N crockets. Then follows the completion of the tower: lancet W window, twin bell-openings with plate tracery, battlements, and a recessed spire with two tiers of lucarnes in the Decorated style. Meanwhile an ambitious S aisle had been built. Three-light S windows and a large cinquefoiled circle is perhaps of 1863. S arcade with octagonal piers and double-chamfered arches, hoodmoulds on (probably re-used) head stops, and heads also at the apexes of the moulds. In the chancel ogee-headed Decorated SEDILIA.
"As at Lowesby nearby, the Perpendicular works are unusually extensive for Leicestershire. The chancel was remodelled and a bold clerestory provided with tall, wide windows of three lights with transom. They keep the interior beautifully light. Perpendicular also the N arcade and N aisle - humble in comparison with the S aisle. The N arcade has been brought S from the position of the former N wall or N arcade so that the nave is no longer axial with the tower arch and chancel. On two of the N capitals carvings: one has angels, the other a procession of animals - badger, monkey, fox with goose and a crowned lion, no doubt illustrating characters from the Reynard legends. Externally the aisles have embattled parapets with pinnacles and friezes and fine gargoyles. PULPIT and SEATS are of the 1854 restoration by RC Hussey (his only known church work in Leicestershire) when the medieval screen was removed and carved fragments from it incorporated in the fronts of the nave seats. In the churchyard remains of a CROSS.
"FONT. Norman, with scalloping at the foot of the bowl, through the base is new. - COMMUNION RAIL. C18. - MONUMENTS. Sir John Digby d. 1269 and his wife. Two large recumbent effigies, he cross-legged and wearing a mail coif. - Sir Everard Digby d. 1509. Knight with big shield and big lion at his feet. Tomb-chest with shields in encircled quatrefoils. - Hanging monument to the Nichols family, 1638 but still with small kneeling figures. - Tomb-chest with big shields and large trophies, mid or later C17."

<2> Nichols J, The History and Antiquities of Leicestershire, Vol 3 pt 1, p472 (Bibliographic reference). SLE7.

<3> Hyam, Andrew, 2018, Archaeological attendance and recording during groundworks at St Peter's Church, Main Street, Tilton on the Hill, Leicestershire (Unpublished document). SLE6042.

A watching brief in 2018 noted the boiler house wall included stone fragments that may have come from earlier parts of the church, including a segment with glazing slots and a fragment of moulded shaft.
Report is in ADS Library:10.5284/1055199 - http://dx.doi.org/10.5284/1055199

<4> 2012, Heritage at Risk: East Midlands Register 2012, p34 (Bibliographic reference). SLE7398.

On Heritage at Risk Register 2012: condition POOR; occupancy N/A; priority category B(NEW ENTRY); owner type RELIGIOUS ORGANISATION
"A grand parish church in a prominent position in the village. The earliest fabric dates from the late C12 and the spire and south aisle are mid-late C14. Restored in 1854 by RC Hussey. The church is clearly very well cared for, however much of the tower's ironstone masonry is very heavily weathered. Many ironstone blocks have suffered significant deterioration. The tower parapet is generally open jointed and incorporates inappropriate repairs which are now failing.There is a history of water ingress at the tower abutment with the nave. Grant offered in December 2011."

<5> 2013, Heritage at Risk: East Midlands Register 2013, p19 (Bibliographic reference). SLE7406.

On Heritage at Risk Register 2013: condition POOR; occupancy N/A; priority category B(NEW ENTRY); owner type RELIGIOUS ORGANISATION
"...Urgent masonry repairs, including structural repairs, are required to the spire (limestone) and tower (ironstone). A Repair Grant for Places of Worship was awarded in December 2011. A repair scheme is currently being tendered and work is anticipated to commence in summer 2013."

<6> 2014, Heritage at Risk: East Midlands Register 2014, p18 (Bibliographic reference). SLE7407.

On Heritage at Risk Register 2014: condition POOR; occupancy N/A; priority category B(B); owner type RELIGIOUS ORGANISATION
"...Urgent spire masonry repairs part funded by a Repair Grant for Places of Worship completed in July 2014. The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a Stage 1 pass in late June 2014 for a second scheme of repairs to include urgent work to tower masonry. It is hoped this work will commence in 2015."


<1>Bibliographic reference: Pevsner N. 1984. The Buildings of England Leicestershire and Rutland. p411.
<2>Bibliographic reference: Nichols J. The History and Antiquities of Leicestershire. Vol 3 pt 1, p472.
<3>Unpublished document: Hyam, Andrew. 2018. Archaeological attendance and recording during groundworks at St Peter's Church, Main Street, Tilton on the Hill, Leicestershire.
<4>Bibliographic reference: 2012. Heritage at Risk: East Midlands Register 2012. p34.
<5>Bibliographic reference: 2013. Heritage at Risk: East Midlands Register 2013. p19.
<6>Bibliographic reference: 2014. Heritage at Risk: East Midlands Register 2014. p18.

Associated Finds

    None recorded


  • Listed Building (I) 1074839: CHURCH OF ST. PETER
  • Conservation Area: Tilton on the Hill