- MEMORIES - CHURCH
Below is a section of
information on the Leicestershire village of Shackerstone. If you are visiting the Battlefield Line Railway suggest you take the short walk from
Shackerstone Station, along the canal and into the village. Shackerstone is a pretty and
unspoilt village. In 2000 Shackerstone won the Best Kept Hamlet Award form the Leicester
In recent years the Steam and Canal Festival takes
over the village for a weekend. This event is run by the villagers of Shackerstone, the
Shackerstone Railway Society and the Ashby Canal Association. The money raised from the
show is jointly split between the three groups. The village has benefited with a childrens
play area, restoration of the church and the installation of litter bins.
Anciently Shackerstone was know as Sacrestone, Shakston, Shaxton and Shackerston.
The misspelling and mispronunciation of the village name still occurs regularly
today, the most popular variation being Shacklestone, know doubt in honour of the
aircraft and explorer of the same name. I believe the village name means
"settlement of robbers", however I am sure this is not true of the current
On the north side of the village standing in a field next to Station Road are the
remains of a 11th or 12th century Norman motte and bailey castle. During WW.II it had an
air raid shelter dug into it and apparently to this day there is still a chair buried
inside the mound.
From Peter Jacques, Shackerstone Church Warden.
Shackerstone Mill was situated by the River Sence and was demolished when the railway
was constructed to make room for the embankment and cattle arch (necessitated to retain a
bridal path to Barton in the Beans). The mill was operated by the Petcher family who had
Bridge Farm where a bakehouse was situated. They where thus able to make flour and bread
as village millers and bakers.
A descendant of the family lived in Church Walk and in
the 1930s daily took the mail bag from Shackerstone Post Office, run by Lucy
Jacques, to the station. She was Annie Petcher and she carried the sealed mail bag in time
for the milk train at approximately 7pm. This train comprised of vans to take the milk
churns and the mail bags to Nuneaton. A trolley on the platforms was used to convey the
milk churns to the train. I used to accompany the Miss Petcher when I was staying with Mrs
Jacques, who was my paternal grandmother. I understood from her that the Station Road was
constructed to give a more direct run for the Gopsall horse carriages which ran to the
station. There were objections from the Rising Sun Inn, which situated in Church Road, was
now by-passed by the carts and more especially their drivers.
The railway really put Shackerstone "on the map" and the building of Gopsall
Lodge in Congerstone Road and the tree lined Avenue which accessed the hall resulted in as
much busier village.
Help Out Mill which still exists of course, was
situated in the branch line (and I believe had a siding) was, as its name implies to
"help out" with area milling facilities.
Shackerstone, with its station, canal, church, inn, chapel, Post Office, shop, mills,
bakery, small butchers shop, smithy, carriage and cart building works and brickyard was a
very self sufficient village with good communications a hundred or more years ago. The
existence of the Help Out Mill contributed to the demise of the the Shackerstone one, but
the Petchers continued their bakery work at Bridge Farm for some time. The original
bakehouse still exists, I believe.
ST. PETERS CHURCH, SHACKERSTONE
There has been a church dedicated to St. Peter at Shackerstone since at least the
beginning of the 13th century, for we know that in 1220 Matthew Saracenus was Rector. From
that date until 1384 the names of the incumbents seem to have been lost. In 1384 the then
Rector, Bartholomew Wendover, exchanged with John Mote for the vicarage of Barthop in
Norfolk. Apart from these two the names of the incumbents are not know until 1534, from
which date they are known up to the present time. The list of incumbent rectors and
vicars, to our best ability, is as follows;
1220 Matthew Saracenus
1384 Bartholomew Wendover
1384 John Mote
1534 John Bolton
1630 July 10 John Hodges
1649 Thomas Salter
1652 Samuel Oldershaw
1680 Albion Shrigley. Buried May 11 1713
1714 Jan 25 Thomas Weightwick. Buried Dec 15 1731
1732 March 9 William Gibbs. Resigned due to illness March 28 and July 1757.
1757 Thomas Hall. Buried April 24 1779
1779 July 11 John Adamthwaite
1811 Thomas-Strong Hall
1846 R. E. Hall (also 1848-85 Edward Robinson curate)
1885 Henry Pochin
1893 William H. Neep
1921 William S. Price
1933 R. Fredrick Roberts
1955 Rio Griffiths Sowerby
1962 Robert W. Park
1977 William E. Quinney (current)
In 1811 when Nichols
"History of Leicestershire" was published the church was described as large,
consisting of a tower with three bells; a spacious chancel; a nave and south aisle, a
north aisle having been taken away and the south aisle being rebuilt. Since 1793, the date
of the drawing of Shackerstone Church in Nichols History, the church has altered
considerably. Comparing the present building with the drawing, the south aisle has been
extended and one of the three windows on the south side of the nave has disappeared and in
its place is what is now the main door of the church. It would seem that the chancel too
has been shortened, as in the drawing it is shown having three windows whereas today there
are only two. In Nichols day there still remained in the chancel three stone seats and a
piscina. These alterations were no doubt carried out in 1845 when Earl Howe is said to
have thoroughly restored the church.
At the time of Nichols writing his history the greatest part of the Lordship of
Shackerstone belonged to Captain Hall, who is described as "a very useful and active
magistrate who at that time resided in the old family mansion, round which are the
remnants of the old moat." In a footnote in the history appears the comment by the
then Vicar, Dr. Adamthwaite, "I road the burial service over him. He lies buried
under the communion table. He was a good natured man." Recently when clearing away
the vegetation round the base of the church a vault was discovered at the east end of the
building. Through a crack it was possible to see two lead coffins, one no doubt containing
the remains of Captain Hall. The vault is about half under the church and if Dr.
Adamthwaite's description of Captain Hall's resting place if correct further support is
given to the notion that the chancel was shortened when the church was restored by Earl
Early in the 20th century the Hall family emigrated to Australia and so the connection
with Shackerstone they had had since the beginning of the 17th century was severed. With
the departure of the Hall's the estate passed into the hands of Earl Howe.
The church Registers date from 1558, though the first register is no longer in the
possession of the church. It would appear that it has been away from its proper place for
some considerable time, for Nichols tells us the register begins in 1630. This register is
now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The Library purchased it from a gentleman in
Beverley in 1878, but there is no known explanation of how it made its way to Yorkshire
As Nichols day there are three bells in the tower, though they cannot be rung owing to
the unsafe condition of the old wooden bell frame. The dates are - small bell 1633, middle
bell 1664, large bell 1860. The latter is replacement of an earlier bell; it was cast by
Taylor and weighs 10 cwt.
The church windows in Nichols era contained the following coats of arms. In the east
window of the chancel; 1. Or, a maunch Gules; 2. Barruly, Argent and Azure, an orle of
martlets Gules. Valance. In the north-east window; 3. Gules, three lions passant gaurdant
Or, a label of France; Or, a maunch Gules. In the north window; 5. Azure, a cross Or,
fretty Gules. Shepey; 6. Azure, two bars Or, charged with six martlets Gules. Burdet. In
the high north window; 7. Gules, a lion rampant queue furche Argent. Mountfort Earl of
Leicester; Shepey repeated. 8. Sable, across Argent. In another north window; 9. Argent,
three garbs Gules. Comyn; 10. Azure, a fess engrailed between three escallops Argent. In a
south window; 11. Quarterly, Argent and Sable; In the first quarter, a mullet of six
points Gules. Perereis. Burdet repeated. In the north west window; 12. Gules, a fess
Argent, between six cross crosslets crossed Or. Beauchamp. In another window; 13. Gules,
two bars Or. Havercourt; 14. Vaire, Argent and Sable. De la Ward; 15. Or, three leopards'
hrads gisaunt, three fleur de lis, Gules; 16. Ermine, a lion rampant Gules, a cinquefoil
Or on the shoulder. Lord Esteley.
The windows in the chancel
contain the arms of the Astley, Danvers, Hall, Marmion, Pembroke and Howe families. The
east window was installed by the parishioners as a memorial to the fallen of the First
The window at the the east end of the south aisle is a memorial to parishioner who was
killed in Africa in the Second World War. The stained glass in the clerestory windows on
the north side of the nave was formerly in the east window.
The church interior was renovated in 1949 and a new alter rail was donated by a
parishioner in 1969. In 1988 a new electronic organ was acquired and a plaque dedicated to
the memory of James Henry Insley, a great 20th century benefactor of the church.
Also see Shackerstone Station, Gopsall Hall and the Royal Connection