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Some Churches in Leicestershire & Rutland

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St Mary the Virgin, Bottesford

Photo of Bottesford Church

This is one of the most visitable churches in Leicestershire (although it is only just in the county, being close to Grantham, Lincolnshire). Its tall and elegant spire can be seen for miles around the Vale of Belvoir and has earned the church the nickname, 'The Lady of the Vale'. If you're in the area, Belvoir Castle isn't far away.

The church was mainly built in a period from the late 13th to 15th centuries. As has been said, the spire is particularly elegant and the exterior pleasant, but it is the interior that raises the eyebrows most, and not just for the good variety of gargoyles.

Photo of chancel at Bottesford Church

The chancel is crammed with monuments to the Roos family and eight Earls of Rutland, and it is these which distinguish the church from most others. Mainly dating from the 15th to the 17th centuries, these follow different styles from tomb chests to standing Roman-like figures by Grinling Gibbons, who also made a larger and more ornate effort at Exton.

There is a useful guide to which monument is which in the church.

Photo of monument at Bottesford Church

To the left is the memorial to the sixth Earl of Rutland (d.1632), known as the 'Witchcraft Tomb'. The two children at bottom left are holding skulls and were said to have died as a result of 'wicked practice and sorcery'. Sadly, some unfortunate women found themselves being executed as the guilty witches.

Photo of monument at Bottesford Church

Several of the monuments have kneeling figures such as those on the left, and there is much to see and enjoy. Too much to show here, so you had better go and visit the church. A word of advice though, 'Belvoir' is pronounced 'Beaver' locally and it will be obvious that you are 'not from round here' if you get it wrong!

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