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St Leonards Church

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Twenty years later the Watson family, the Rector and Parishioners placed a new roof upon the nave and enlarged the Church by the addition of the north aisle. In 1868, the Church was beautified by raising the roof of the Chancel, and adding two arches (the mouldings of the capitals and piers being copies from fragments of the former Church), thus opening the north aisle.

At this time Mr George Watson erected a Mortuary Chapel on the south side of the Chancel, and removed to it many of the family monuments, formerly in the Chancel and the north Chapel. In 1902, there were further restorations following a fire in the Church.

 

In recent years thousands of pounds have been spent on major repairs and restoration, the roof having been infested with dry rot. Most of the work and decoration of the main part of the Church has now been completed, but work is still continuing to the external stonework, lead work and the Collyweston slate roofs.

The Patronage was held by the Crown until purchased by Edward Watson; his first appointment was that of William Bullin in 1558. The Patronage still remains with the family, but since the parish was joined with St James the Great, Gretton, the appointment of Rector is taken in turns with the Bishop of Peterborough.

From 1998 the parish will also be joined with St Mary Magdalene, Cottingham and St Peter, East Carlton, where upon the patronage will be exercised in turns with Sir Geoffrey Palmer Bt and Brasenose College, Oxford.

The Church is dedicated to St Leonard, a 6th century hermit, the patron saint of prisoners and is usually depicted carrying a chain. Despite his great popularity in the Middle Ages, nothing was heard of him before the 11th century.

He was a Frankish nobleman of the court of King Clovis, and lived in a cell at Noblac, near Limoges, later founding a monastery. His cult spread in the 12th century to England, Italy and Germany and many churches were dedicated to him. His feast day is 6 November.

At Rockingham he is represented in the west window of the north aisle and is also the figure on the north side of the Altar Reredos. <BACK

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