Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Old Rectory Museum

A visit to the Old Rectory Museum

If you live in Loughborough, it's possible that you might have heard of the Old Rectory Museum: In fact, you might even have played in the grounds when you were a youngster! If, however, you're a student, or you're just visiting then it's possible you might have missed this treasure, tucked away in the old part of Loughborough, near All Saints with Holy Trinity Church, close to the former Manor House, the former Guildhall, and what is probably the oldest pub in town!!

The Old Rectory is, as its name suggests, the former rectory associated with what was at the time probably known as the church of St Peter and St Paul, later All Saints, and now combined with the Holy Trinity Church (which is situated on the corner of Moor Lane and Trinity Street and is now an independent school). 

It's quite possible that there was a rectory in this place from about the early 1100s, but in the late 19th century the building looked quite different, being a substantial family home. When a new vicar was installed, he deemed the rectory too big for his and his family's needs, so a new home was built, in about 1960. The Old Rectory was then scheduled for demolition, but in the process, the old stone building that you can see today was found inside the newer building. Such was the significance of this Old Rectory, that demolition was halted, and the stone building retained and turned into a museum.

I believe that the Old Rectory and the Warner Street School are the only stone buildings to remain in the town centre, although the school has now been demolished, leaving only the former headteacher's house. Some significant stonework from the school has been housed in the Old Rectory Museum.

The Old Rectory was at one time a scheduled Ancient Monument, but is now a Grade II* listed building. The museum contains a large variety of artefacts, including archaeological finds, tiles from Garendon Abbey, has a variety of displays, including several on locally important people, and has an area devoted to an exhibition which changes each year. This year the exhibition is based around the Big Meadow in Loughborough, the oldest meadow in the country, dating back to 1762. This meadow is one of the few remaining lammas meadows in the country, and was chosen by Prince Charles to be one of the 60 coronation meadows to celebrate the Queen's reign. 

Below is a selection of photos I've taken of the Old Rectory Museum. These are probably the worst photos I've ever taken, but at least they will give you an idea of what to expect when you visit the museum, which is run by volunteers from Loughborough Archaeological and Historical Society, and which is open every Saturday from April to September, 11-3.   




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