St Leonard's Church, ThryberghTucked away from the main road down a narrow lane is St Leonard’s Church in Thrybergh, South Yorkshire. When I visited it was mid-February 2017 and the air added a dampness that seemed reflected in the dark stone and gloom of the church, though it was off-set somewhat by the pretty little flowers that were growing in and around the cemetery, snowdrops for the most part. 

The church itself is ancient, with Saxon origins dating back to 900AD, and there are a variety of different eras of construction in and out of the building. Although on this occasion I couldn’t get inside, I have been in, about 30 years ago (continues below)

The nave of St Leonard’s is 11th and 12 century but the windows contained within dated from the 1400s, as does the tower. Much of it was apparently restored in 1871 and 1894 but it doesn’t ruin the character of the building overall. You still get that early medieval feel from it and from what remains of the original stone work. Even the modern and completely out of character vestry – added in 1970 – cannot detract, sitting as it does like a giant carbuncle on the south west side.

A couple of points of interest around the building: a wonderful Norman doorway on the north side bears witness to the enlargement to the west of the Nave and is in itself interesting. It has an outer and inner arch (called “orders”) and although the doorway is bricked up the brickwork indicates that there was possibly a lintel and a tympanum in the doorway sometime in the past. Whether or not the tympanum was ornately decorated in lost to history.

There is a string course on the north side above the doorway too, a feature of Romanesque architecture and this can also be seen in my photo of the worn gargoyle above. A string course is a horizontal arrangement of stonework that protrudes from the face of the wall and is often decorated or moulded.

The south east nave window apparently has some good examples of 15th century stained glass although I was not taken by these when I visited. They were quite significantly damaged in the English Civil War it seems but some of it remains in small parts of the windows.
Heritage Inspired says of the interior:

A interesting number of monuments are mounted on the nave and chancel walls, starting from the Tudor period with the Reresby Chantry up to a Fullerton aviator lost in World War 1. They include an Elizabethan memorial to the Reresby family showing eight sons and ten daughters! One of the larger monuments is to Sir John Reresby. He was a Minister of the Government, Royalist Cavalry Leader, a Burgess and a Magistrate of York. The monument is of black and white marble, with weapons and skulls all over it. A smaller one is a memorial to John Reresby from his son, saying that his purse was insufficient to provide a larger monument through his fathers financial loss.

(Source: Heritage Inspired)

I was unable to gain access to the St Leonard’s but will look to revisit it and nearby St James’ at Hooton Roberts sometime over the late spring and summer. The Reresby monument sounds incredible and I’m keen to get some decent photographs of it.

You may be interested in my other postings on the 12th century stone cross that is sited in the churchyard and the legend that goes along with it.