A wonderful medieval church full of history, St. Andrew’s main construction periods dates from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.
The church has been described as “a harmonious blend of Early English and Decorated work”. The oldest parts of the buildings are the tower and the north arcade, dating from the early 13th century. The chancel was built in the 14th century. In the 15th century the nave roof was raised and more light let into the church by the addition of clerestory windows. A new tower arch was built and the south arcade added. The south porch was rebuilt in 1926 but still has a floor of 17th century herringbone brick.
Records of the Archdeacons’ Visitations indicate that in 1799 the church building was “in very bad repair”. However by 1842 it was in a better state. Extensive alterations and restoration work began in 1894. The chancel roof was repaired, wood blocks replaced the old red brick floor and the nave was reseated in pitch pine. The organ was moved from the tower arch to the chancel and the choir gallery was removed altogether.
At the end of the twentieth century, in line with modern liturgical developments, a central worship area was created. In 1999 the Bishop of Leicester dedicated new furnishings and a modern theatrical lighting system. To mark the millennium the medieval carvings in the nave roof were gilded and painted.
The church of St. Andrew’s, Aylestone, has stood on its present site for nearly 800 years, but there may well have been an earlier structure. The name of the village can be found in the Doomsday Book, the Survey of 1086, stating that “the Countess Alveva held five carucates of land in Ailestone”. Though the name is said to have come from “Aegels Tun”, the word ‘Tun’ probably indicating a Saxon settlement. The first recorded Merchant Guild Roll of Leicester (1199) lists many people bearing the name of “de Ayleston”. Aylestone was largely an agricultural settlement until the end of the 19th century.
By the beginning of the 16th century Aylestone was part of the estates of the Vernon family, of Haddon Hall in Derbyshire. Dorothy Vernon married John Manners, second son of the first Earl of Rutland, in Aylestone Church and their eldest son, George, lived for some time at Aylestone Manor Hall. The Parish Registers record the baptisms of John and Dorothy’s grandchildren at St. Andrew’s. In 1703 the ninth Earl was created the first Duke of Rutland, and Aylestone Manor remained in the possession of the Dukes of Rutland until June 1869.
King Charles I made his headquarters in Aylestone, staying at Aylestone Hall during the siege of Leicester in 1645.
A warm welcome awaits you at this wonderful medieval church. Our aim is to involve the whole people of God and so the congregation plays a full part in the presentation of worship. Newcomers are made welcome, but given space to appreciate the Service in their own way.
Rector: Rev’d Rowena Bass
0116 291 0021