Benchmark, St Swithun's, Great Dalby, Leicestershire
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 52° 43.343 W 000° 54.160
30U E 641645 N 5843451
Quick Description: Cut mark at entrance to church
Location: East Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 6/2/2013 3:35:56 PM
Waymark Code: WMH75P
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member harleydavidsonandy
Views: 3

Long Description:
If it rains on St. Swithun's Day, it will rain for 40 days.

Great Dalby, which lies some three miles south of Melton Mowbray, has a population approaching 400. St Swithun's Church dates from the 14th century.

Great Dalby (St. Swithun's Church) stands on high ground behind the village pub. There has been a building on the site since 1232 but many changes have beemade in it's 900 year history.

There was a settlement before the Norman Conquest and the name 'Dalby' meaning 'Settlement in the Dale' suggests it was Danish. Not long after the Conquest, the manor was held by Hugh de Anaf, who also held Chaucombe in Northamptonshire. He founded a priory at Chaucombe, to which he gave the church. For several centuries the village was known as Dalby Chalcombe or Chaucombe and the Priory appointed the Vicars.

Over the centuries, the manor of Great Dalby was held either through inheritance or marriage, by Seagraves, Mowbrays (Earls and Dukes of Norfolk), Berkelys and Burdetts

The main documented change, was that the Spire was struck by lightning in 1658 and collapsed into the nave of the church. The damage was unrepaired for several years, whilst money was collected to build a new spire and roof. The money was collected, but the collectors ran off with the money! As a result, the tower was capped to form the unusual structure seen today. The North Aisle was completely destroyed, along with a beautifully carved oak ceiling. Remnants of carved stone can be found in village houses, wall, and gardens - not to mention in the rebuilding of the church.

In a written account of the spire's demise in the parish registers, it was stated that ' The Steeple, being an high spire, fell upon the body of the Church on the 2nd Day of January 1658, and brought to the ground the north aile, and the middle aile, leaving only standing part of the chancel and the south aile. It fell on the very morning of our Lord's Day about one o'clock. It gave us warning all the night before, by stones falling down on the bells. The loss was £1660'.
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