St James' Church, Burton Lazars
St. James Church has served the village of Burton Lazars since the eleventh century. Situated just over a mile south of Melton Mowbray, the church has a dedicated congregation who get together for regualar services, discussion and prayer groups, and fund raisers. Do come and find out about SWIGs (Supper with God!) or Closer to God.
The church is kept in good order by Mrs Janet King and Mrs Jenny Pengelly, Churchwardens.
The village has an interesting history! 'Burtone' (a Saxon name) became 'Burton Saint Lazarus' in 12th century, when Lord Roger de Mowbray established a Leper Hospital to the west of the village -- taking advantage of the local spring and the freshness of the air. The emblem of the Order that ran the hospital was a red cross on a white ground -- possibly the origins of the symbol of the Red Cross organisation. This work continued until 4th May 1544, when the Hospital was disbanded under the dissolution of Henry VIIIth.
The village Church of St James is also believed to have been founded by Roger de Mowbray – though the body of the Church is in the later Norman style.
HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE
While the earliest part of the church is contemporary with the oldest remains of St Mary’s Church in Melton Mowbray, the main body of the church is in the later Norman style and is probably an enlargement of an earlier and smaller church. Here are the remains of an altar and piscine in each aisle of the nave and an islet can be seen on either side of the chancel arch, which may have originally have supported a rood screen. The chancel was rebuilt in the 20th century and the altar is one which served St Mary’s in Melton Mowbray for many years. The font is attributed to the latter part of the 14th century and is surprisingly in a perfect state of preservation.
Two bells are hung from the curious but handsome little bell turret at the west end of the church. The twenty foot high Georgian memorial in the churchyard was erected to the memory and vanity of a local man, William Squires, and is adorned with carved figures representing Life, Death, Time, Faith, Hope and Charity, as well as a stone globe of the world.
FIND ST JAMES' CHURCH, BURTON LAZARS, LE14 2UH