718/17/1 OLD CHURCH STREET
Church of St Andrew
(Formerly listed as:
Parish Church of St Andrew)
Church of St Andrew, Aylestone, Leicester
Parish church of C13-C15, restored 1894 and 1902, porch rebuilt 1926.
MATERIALS: Local random rubble with freestone dressings, ashlar porch, graded-slate chancel roof, with copper-sheet roofs to nave and aisles.
PLAN: Aisled nave with higher chancel, west tower, south porch, north-west vestry.
EXTERIOR: The broad 3-stage tower has angle buttresses in the lower stage. Its restored west doorway has 4 orders of shafts. There are lancet windows in the lower stage and also in the middle stage south wall below a clock. The bell stage has simple 2-light openings with louvres. Behind a coped parapet is a broach spire, which has 2 tiers of lucarnes. Three-bay aisles have mainly 3-light windows with intersecting or reticulated tracery. Two-light clerestorey windows have 4-centred arches. The C20 south porch is rib vaulted but retains C17 brick paving. Inside it the south aisle retains a C14 doorway with continuous chamfer. The long and tall chancel is 4 bays long, with 5-light east and 3-light south windows with intersecting tracery. There is also a south priest's doorway. The vestry is built against the north wall of the tower and first bay of the north aisle.
INTERIOR: The tower arch is C14, triple-chamfered on polygonal responds. In the north wall of the tower is a lower blind triple-chamfered arch, which either opened to a north aisle longer than the present aisle, or is the re-set original C13 tower arch. Within the arch is a blocked triangular-headed window that might be a re-set Saxon window. The lofty interior has 3-bay arcades on C13 round piers to the north, but taller C14 octagonal piers on the south. The nave retains a fine late medieval king-post roof on corbelled posts, decorated with castellated tie beam and with bosses repainted and gilded in 1999. The chancel has a C19 cradle roof. In its south wall are cusped sedilia with carved spandrels and ogee-headed piscina. Walls have been stripped of plaster to expose stonework. There are late C19 parquet floors with plainer floorboards below the benches.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The restored C13 font has a round bowl and stem with 4 detached shafts. Inside the south entrance is a screen base across the south aisle, of freestone and plaster, castellated and with buttresses at either end. It has an entrance leading into the aisle and incorporates benches on the east side. C20 benches have simple shaped ends. C16 bench ends with poppy heads are incorporated into a reading desk and fixed against the nave west wall. The choir stalls were brought here in 1927 from Leicester St Martin when that church became the cathedral. They have square-headed ends, and frontals with open arcading and fleurons to a cornice. In the chancel north wall is a brass memorial with effigy to William Heathcott (d 1594). A C13 sepulchral slab is fixed to the west wall. A fragment of C15 glass from Rouen is in the south aisle. The Ascension east window is by Harry Payne of the Birmingham School of Art (1932). Other stained glass includes: in the north aisle is a Nativity window by Burlison and Grylls (c1923); in the south aisle is Christ as the Light of the World by Lavers, Barraud & Westlake (c1862), and a Victorian Golden Jubilee window by Herbert Gardner of Leicester (1887).
HISTORY: Aylestone was a village subsumed by the expansion of Leicester in the late C19. A re-set triangular-headed window in the tower has been interpreted as Anglo-Saxon and there is a fragment of C12 masonry in the south wall. Other than that the core of the church is C13, including tower, spire, nave and north aisle, to which the south aisle was added in the C14. The early-C14 chancel is unusually large but, although big enough to have accommodated a secular college of priests, there is no documentary evidence for such a use. The nave clerestorey was added in the C15. Restoration in 1894 included new floors and new seating, and some renewal of tracery, except for new east window and south aisle west window. Other window tracery was renewed in 1902 at a cost of £470. Nave and aisle roofs were repaired in 1923-24 and the porch was rebuilt in 1926. A vestry was added in the early C21.
G. Brandwood, The Anglican Churches of Leicester, 1984, pp 22-23.
G. Brandwood, Bringing them to their Knees: Church Building and Restoration in Leicestershire and Rutland 1800-1914, 2002, p 74.
N. Pevsner (revised E. Williamson), The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, 1984, p 266.
G. Smith, St Andrew's Church, Aylestone: A short history, 2004.
VCH, Leicestershire, iv, pp 415-20.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The church of St Andrew, Aylestone, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is an ambitious medieval village church mostly of the C13-C14, retaining tower, arcades and sedilia of that period.
* It has notable late-medieval features including the nave roof and an unusual stone screen base.
* Fixtures of special interest include C16 brass memorial and C16 bench ends.