Sproxton St Chad

An Elizabethan church, moved stone by stone to a new site.

St Chad's belongs to Temple Moore's very earliest years as an architect. It was originally built in the 16th century, and given much of its present character in the later 17th century. In 1879 Lord Feversham paid to have it moved from West Newton Grange, about a mile and a half away, where it had fallen into a sorry state and was being used as a barn.

The whole enterprise cost £1,100. George Gilbert Scott junior provided the design, and Moore supervised the work and designed the fittings. He was then aged 23. He'd just finished serving the period of apprenticeship known as “articles” with Scott, and had stayed on to work as his assistant. At Sproxton he and Scott strove to maintain the 17th century character of the church, with its square bell-turret, nave and chancel as one, and reredos with a figured triptych in plaster.

Lord Feversham's high-church inclinations led Scott and Moore to install a marble altar at Sproxton, in spite of the fact that to do so was technically illegal under the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874. This was generally recognised as ill-conceived law, but that didn't prevent several members of the clergy being brought to trial and five imprisoned under the Act. Prosecutions continued until 1906 and the law was not repealed until 1965.

The magnificent triumphal arch near Sproxton at the entrance to the Duncombe Park estate is called the Nelson Gate. It was originally built in wood to commemorate Admiral Lord Nelson and the British naval victory at Trafalgar. The inscription on the frieze at the front reads: “To the memory of Lord Viscount Nelson and the unparalleled gallant achievements of the British navy”. And to the rear: “Lamented Hero! 0! price his conquering country grieved to pay! 0 dear bought glories of Trafalgar Day!”