There has been a church in Tollerton since before the Norman Conquest but its site is not known. The present church’s foundations were laid towards the end of the 12th Century. Little is known of the medieval church except that it had a gabled tower.
It was customary for the rector to maintain the chancel and for the villagers – usually the squire – to maintain the nave. Various squires did little or no repair work and the nave became a ruin.
Then in 1812 Pendock Barry started a renovation scheme. He rebuilt the nave, constructed the mausoleum and built a brick extension to the west end that contained a porch with vestries and a gallery. The gallery was for his family’s use.
When the rector died in 1816 the new incumbent was persuaded to give the squire a free hand. He pulled down the chancel and rebuilt it.
Restoration work also took place in 1909 to make the church look as it does today.
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Items of Note
There is a medieval font to the left of the west door. It was thrown out in the 1812 restoration and used as a trough for the parish pump. It was not returned to the church until 1918.
In the chancel there is a rare medieval piscine on a pedestal which was used to wash the chalice after communion.The carving shows it to be late 12th century. It was discarded in 1812 and, for a while, used as an ornament in the Hall grounds. It was returned to the church at the turn of the last century.
The pipe organ is on the south side of the nave. It was donated in 1909 by W E Burnside, the owner of Tollerton Hall. The console is now in the gallery, which is reached by the spiral staircase in the west wall. Here also is the squire’s pew and the fireplace at which the privileged warmed themselves. For more information, about the organ, go to the organ page.
A walk in the church yard reveals some fine slate gravestones around the south wall dating from 1800.
On the north wall is an open mouthed gargoyle. To the east is a high wall built in 1812 to shut out the view of the church from the Hall.