West Leake
St Helena

Archaeology

The church consists of chancel, south aisle, south porch, north transept (containing the organ chamber and vestry) and a clerestoried nave with a bell turret containing two bells.

The church was restored in 1877-8 by Henry Hall of London. The work comprised rebuilding the south aisle, clerestory, nave roof, north transept and vestry.

Exterior features

The north nave wall Blocked doorway C12 window Blocked window

The north nave wall has a blocked 12th century doorway with the remains of sunk-star decorated imposts which imply a date early in the 12th century and originally with a round arched tympanum. To the left is a single 12th century round arched light. 

The chancel from
the south-east
The chancel from
the north-east

The chancel dates from the 14th century.

Interior features

South arcade South arcade pier
with traces of paint

Five-bay 14th century nave arcades with octagonal columns and responds, moulded capitals and double chamfered arches.

Organ chamber and
chancel arches

The organ chamber and chancel arches are double chamfered, the inner order supported on octagonal responds. 

Medieval Cross Slabs

Cross slabs 1-3

The three surviving cross slabs now lie outside the north wall of the nave; Cox (1912, 135) notes ‘at the W end several early coffin-covers with incised crosses: mostly early 13th century but two are 12th cent.’, suggesting that other slabs have been lost.

(1) Slab, intact except for its l. side being rimmed (perhaps when re-used), unusually thick (260mm); incised design except for head being carved in relief within a sunk circle, simple straight-arm cross with basic fleur-de-lys terminals, stepped base.

(2) Lower part of slab, incised cross shaft rising from a fleur-de-lys base, r. chamfer partly cut by square rebate, possible when re-used.

(3) Intact but much weathered slightly-coped slab of yellowish limestone, traces of relief design with head and foot of cross as raised panels; the head has perhaps been a cross botonée but little remains of it. Once a high-status slab.

Descriptions and drawings of the cross slabs courtesy of Peter Ryder.