An engraving by Schnebbelie 1791

A Brief History of the Church

An engraving by Schnebbelie 1791

This information is extracted from detailed history written by Mr Richard Hunt in 1987, which is available from the Church.


The Parish Church of Hose has not always been dedicated to St. Michael and All Angels. The church at Hose was under Belvoir Priory when it was founded in c.1076. This was confirmed in 1160, when the church was rededicated to St. Nicholas. Neither the original dedication, nor when the church was rededicated to St. Michael and All Angels, is known.


The building of Hose Church dates from the Early English period (c.1190 - c.1250). The 13th century church consisted of a nave, with north and south aisles and chancel - more or less corresponding to the present layout, but probably without porches. Most of the church was built during the Decorated period (c.1290 c.1350). The attractive, rust-coloured stone used here, as in other churches in the area, is an iron-rich sand-rock that has weathered deeply over the years. It is commonly known as "ironstone". Certain parts were rebuilt during the Perpendicular period (c.1350 - c.1530) using the more durable Lincolnshire limestone. Two phases of repairs were carried out in the late 18th century and early 19th century using brick, which had by this time become the predominant building material in this part of the county. The church underwent a thorough restoration in 1887, which was not without some controversy.

Parts of the Early English building have survived. There is evidence of an earlier structure: at both ends of the nave and at the base of the tower there are five areas of dark grey local limestone about three feet high, and these may date from just after the Norman Conquest.


The original tower, constructed in the early 14th century, may have had either a simple bellcote or a saddleback roofed tower. The bells would have been housed in a simple bellcote sitting astride the west gable of the nave, a common arrangement in Norman and Early English churches in Leicestershire. The present tower is in four stages, which makes it taller than most in the Vale of Belvoir, and it is visible from some miles. It was built during the Decorated period, but with significant Perpendicular alterations of its uppermost stage. It has limestone-capped clasping buttresses, which barely reach to the height of the lowest stage, and each stage has a limestone sill. It is topped by an embattled limestone parapet with pinnacles at the corners. The bell openings are gable-headed, with transomed lights and an unusually large centrepiece, making Hose's bell openings rather more ostentatious than most. There are gargoyles at the corners of the tower, which have been skilfully carved to create the illusion that they are struggling to break free from being immured. On the east wall of the tower the outline of a steeply pitched former roofline to the nave can be seen.

Prior to 1858 there were three bells in the tower, one of pre-Reformation date inscribed "Sci Nicholai + ", one inscribed "God save his church 1613", and one without inscription. In 1858 the tower was retimbered, the three old bells were scrapped and five new ones were bought for 211 15s 93/4d from Taylors of Loughborough. The bells were recast and rehung by Loughborough Bell Foundry in 1938 at a cost of 214. The "Inventory of goods of the church of Hoose, made the 29th day of July 1553" mentions one "sanctus bell and a scringe bell" in the church. These inventories were taken at the height of the Reformation as a prelude to removing and destroying all and any reminders of the Roman Catholic liturgical practice that might have survived.

In 1922 a new striking clock was purchased for 134, with dials on the north and south tower faces.


The outline of a steeply-pitched former roof can be seen on the east wall of the tower. The embattled Perpendicular clerestory, built of limestone ashlar, contrasts sharply in both colour and texture with the coarse "ironstone" of the rest of the church. The south aisle has a sundial dated 1735 at its western extremity.

All the roofs were renewed in the Victorian restoration, but along the previous Perpendicular lines. The sill of the south aisle's west window is an inscribed stone recording that A new roof was placed upon this Church and the interior renovated in the Jubilee year of Queen Victoria, 1887.


The original chancel roof would have had a steep pitch, but during the Victorian restoration of the church the chancel walls were raised in height by some four or five feet. A lead panel on the roof bears the leaded inscription "Repaired Mr Groves 1711 F W P". The digging of a trench to lay an oil pipe in 1982 revealed foundations extending to the east of the chancel's present east wall, implying that this wall has at some time been rebuilt slightly further west, shortening the chancel. The chancel east window is limestone, of three cusped lights under a depressed head, with animalistic headstops, that on the north or right hand side being a "tongue-poker". The priest's door in the north wall of the chancel was converted into a window in 1979.


The church has both north and south porches, with 18th century brick facades; these rest on medieval "ironstone" plinths, but the side walls of the porches are of "ironstone". It is possible that the building was interrupted by the Black Death and the porches left unfinished. It is worth noting that Hose had no less than four different vicars between the years 1347 and 1352 when the plague raged, and it is with the Black Death that the Decorated period of architecture ended. The south porch has had its doorway blocked and is now used as a vestry. The church is entered through the north door, which is of plain timbers with simple iron straps, and probably dates from 1777. The stone benching in the north porch has curious scratchings, which may be graffiti for which schoolchildren in the 18th century were responsible, when the village school was held in the church's south aisle, at its western end.


The interior of the church is roomy and uncluttered with few monuments, and is well-lit by the large clerestory windows and because of the scarce stained glass. The interior appears to be standard Perpendicular detail (octagonal piers with moulded octagonal capitals and bases, double chamfered arches), but detailed inspection shows a most interesting architectural history of reconstruction to combat subsidence and changing requirements.

On the north capital of the chancel arch a notch can be seen where the rood screen was fixed before the Reformation, but it is missing from the south capital which is a 19th century replacement. The north jamb of the chancel arch has, at its lowest level, two inscribed circles containing cross pates. One of these is a consecration cross, placed there to commemorate the completion of rebuilding, probably the one of c.1300. The narrow Decorated tower arch has semi-octagonal capitals, which have been drastically cut away in order to accommodate the singing gallery which is known to have been situated here in the early 19th century. There are still traces of medieval red oxide paint on the capitals.

Both north and south aisles once contained side-altars. At the east end of the south aisle is the Lady Chapel, with a trefoil-headed piscina set into the south wall, and directly opposite to it there is an ogee-headed, two-tier aumbry. This aumbry was probably once carved in relief with a finial atop it, but it has been defaced, most probably during the Reformation. The north aisle chapel has a trefoil-headed piscina set within an indented ogee, with a plainly moulded aumbry opposite.

The font is of 14th century date, but is crude in execution. The font changes from square at the base to octagonal in the stem. A carved vine trails around the base and continues onto the stem on one side. The bowl is ornamented with angels with outspread wings bearing shields on the underside, with heads at the corners, while the sides are carved with lobed quatrefoils and similar designs enclosing more shields.

All other furnishings and fittings date from the 19th century. The westernmost window of the north aisle contains the only stained glass in the church made by Westlake and Co. The War Memorial tablet is to be found adjacent to the chancel arch. It was erected in 1921, and the addition of the 1938-45 War Memorial tablet made to the existing tablet in 1949.





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First Published: August 2006 Updated: March 2013