Church building and restoration in Leicestershire, 1800-1914
thesisposted on 15.02.2010, 11:49 authored by Geoffrey K. Brandwood
This thesis aims to provide the first comprehensive review of church building and restoration in an English county between 1800 and 1914. Architectural trends and arrangements of furnishings and fittings receive the greatest attention, together with the setting of local events in the national context. The condition and appearance of churches in the pre-Ecclesiological era are considered and a rather more favourable picture built up than that inherited from the nineteenth century. The rise of Ecclesiology is examined and it is clear that Leicestershire follows rather than plays a leading part in national trends. Throughout emphasis is placed on statistical information to illuminate the points under discussion, for example, to assess the impact of the restoration movement on local churches; the claim that restoration was destruction is critically examined, particularly in relation to G. G. Scott. It is shown that from about 1870 there-was a great need for new churches in Leicester, and, although there were some notable buildings provided, there was a general tendency towards architectural simplicity which led back to the values embodied in the pre-Victorian buildings. This is also associated with changing stylistic fashions; after the flowering of the Gothic Revival, its waning is traced and examples given of the use of non-Gothic styles. The above themes are generally treated chronologically. They are followed by separate treatments of the processes of selecting architects (the clear evidence is limited), building materials and their application (Leicestershire has an excellent diversity of materials), and the methods of funding the work. Back-up material is provided in a series of Appendices. Of these the longest and most important are the ones summarising the work done at each church, the work of individual architects, and a review of the amount and timing of activity in other selected counties. The latter seems to show that not all counties follow the Leicestershire pattern, which peaks in the 1860s.