The History of Barnack Church
The history of Barnack Church spans many centuries and begins in the time of Anglo-Saxon England, before the Norman Conquest.
The church which now stands represents many periods of English architecture, although it is constructed almost exclusively of a single building material, Barnack Stone.
The oldest part of the church is the tower, the lower two stages of which date from about 1000 AD. The octagonal belfry and spire were added some two hundred years later. The tower has a number of typically Saxon features, the pilaster strip work, a sundial, a carved panel and three carved birds. Inside, the tower opens to the nave by a magnificent Saxon arch.
The nave is of the late 12th, and early 13th, centuries. The pillars, which have finely decorated capitals, support three rounded arches on either side opening to North and South aisles.
At the end of the long 14th century chancel is the large East window, subdivided by fine stone tracery into five lancet-shaped lights. Between chancel and nave is an elaborate rood screen.
To the North of the chancel is a fourteenth century chapel containing effigies of a cross-legged knight, thought to be Geoffrey de Bernac, and of Margaret Vincent, wife of John Vincent, who was Lord of the Manor in the early 15th century.
The Lady Chapel was built at the beginning of the 16th century. It is notable for two carved niches of the same period, one of which contains a contemporary sculpture of the Immaculate Conception that has survived desecration.
In the North aisle there is a splendid carving of Christ in Majesty which was found in the floor of the church some seventy years ago but which is thought to date from Saxon times. The font is of the 13th century and is also finely carved.
The stained glass is all comparatively modern but reflects a number of different styles. Among the plate is a communion cup and cover of 1569.
As a Millennium project the church brought the bells back into use. This entailed strengthening the tower and having a new bell cast at Taylor’s Bell Foundry in Loughborough The six bells, the oldest of which was cast in 1450, are now rung on most Sundays and festival days.
Thus it may be seen that the history of the church is a microcosm of the history of England during the last ten centuries. It represents, too, the devoted care of the rector and people of the village who have kept the church in good order for a thousand years.
The Friends seek to continue this tradition by stimulating interest in the church and preserving its beauty for future generations and, during the first 18 years of existence have contributed over £20,000 to this end.
Projects financed or assisted by the Friends include Flood Lighting, New Guide Book, cleaning of the Chancel Ceiling, Lightning Conductor and the repair of the Salviati Mosaics below the east window.
The Friends of Barnack Church seek to continue this tradition by stimulating interest in it and preserving its beauty for future generations. During the first 18 years of existence The Friends have contributed over £20,000 to this end.