A Short History of St. Peter’s Bardon Hill

St. Peter's church

St. Peter’s Bardon Hill was consecrated on Thursday 7th September 1899 by the Lord Bishop of Peterborough, Rt. Rev. Dr. Edward Carr Glyn.

It was after many years of Worship taking place in the old schoolroom (this was in the Old Row where Bardon Quarries now park their lorries) that it was decided that a Church for quarry workers and their families was needed. After much discussion, the three sons of Mr and Mrs Breedon Everard of Bardon Quarry offered to build the Church in memory of their Parents; this fact is commemorated by a plate high up on the west wall, it reads:

TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY OF BREEDON AND ELIZABETH ANN EVERARD, THIS CHURCH WAS BUILT IN 1899

The Church was designed by Mr John Breedon Everard, on land given by Mr William Thomas Everard. The foundation stone was laid on 6th June 1898 by Lady Mary Glyn, (wife of the Bishop of Peterborough). At the ceremony there was a large number of local clergy and parishioners.

The Church is built of stone quarried at Bardon Hill and Markfield with dressings of doulting stone. The inside is lined with Ellistown red bricks relieved with Bath stone dressings from Corsham Down. The building contractor was Mr H Bland of Leicester.

It was the Parishioners request to help with their new Church that set them the task of fund raising for an organ suitable for the building. This they did and Taylors of Leicester was engaged to build it at a cost of £290. It was updated in 1965 at a cost of £531 for a pedal board and swell pedal plus cleaning and overhaul.

This Church is built in the old parish of Ibstock, with Hugglescote being her mother Church, on which some of her design is taken. It was to Hugglescote Church Bardon people went to receive the sacraments before this building was consecrated, and it was the Vicar from there who took the services here until Bardon had its own Vicar in 1918.

The building consists of a nave with a narthex, a small transept on the south side and an aisle on the north side, together with a chancel. An organ chamber and a vestry are situated on the south and north sides respectively. The nave measures 45 feet by 32 feet inside (including the aisles) and the chancel 25½ feet by 22 feet. There is a slender tower crowned by a fleche on a saddleback roof at the West End of the aisle which contains 3 bells cast and hung by John Taylor and Co. Loughborough. They are a Treble weighing 4cwt 2qr 7lbs, Second 6cwt 1qr 16lbs and a Tenor 8cwt 1qr 17lbs. They are inscribed: the Treble “To call the folk to Church in time I chime. W.T.E. 1898”, the Second “On holy love to set the seal I peal C.E. 1898” and the Tenor “when from the body parts the soul I toll J.B.E. 1898.” The initials are of the three Everard Sons; William Thomas, Charles and John.

The stained glass window to the east was installed in memory of John Breedon and his wife Harriet Selby Everard. It was designed by Mr Karl Parsons. The Everards also donated the font in memory of two of their children who died as babies. A brass plate bears the description to this fact. The font itself is made of a bowl of alabaster mounted on a polished Hopton wood stone base. Chiselled into the outside of the bowl are the words “Jesus said, suffer little children to come unto me”.

The Everard family stayed loyal friends to the Church with Bernard becoming Church Warden and Lay Canon and his wife Florence Julia Fielding Everard being leader of the Mothers Union etc. until their deaths in 1963. All their graves are at the East end of the Church, the latest being Mrs Julia Elizabeth Halford who sadly died in October 1993.

Since the Church was built the heating was updated to oil in 1956. Before 1956 heat was by hot air blown through iron gratings in the floor. Electricity was connected in 1934 – until that time lighting was by oil lamps on wrought iron brackets, a couple of which still exist. The Golden Jubilee was the occasion when the vestry arches were glazed and there is a brass plate in the vestry to inform us of this. In 1996 the spire was stripped and rebuilt at a cost of £16,000.

Outside, the Churchyard was consecrated in 1908 and today it is almost full. A Garden of Remembrance was created in 1964 to the south side of the building to cater for the growing popularity of cremations. It is a lawned area where ashes can be interred, and is bordered by flowerbeds. The Parish War Memorial stands on the southeast corner and was dedicated in 1920. The names of those who fell in the 1914-18 war are on the north and south sides, with those from 1939-45 on the east. There is a service there each Remembrance Sunday. Surrounding the Church are some very old rhododendrons, they are the first to flower just after Christmas each year and the Church is referred to as “the little Church with the rhododendrons on the front”.

The Church stayed with her Mother Church sharing the same Vicar until 1918 when Bardon Hill was constituted as a separate Parish by order in Council granted on 4th March (recorded in the London Gazette 8th March 1918). Rev’d. Edmund Pillifant was Inducted on 22nd June. The Vicarage had already been occupied by the Curate-in-Charge since it was built in 1904. The link with Hugglescote was maintained and both Churches shared a monthly magazine until 1925. In 1927 Leicester became a Cathedral City and the ties with Peterborough were broken and Bardon became part of the Diocese of Leicester.

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