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A brief History of Christ Church

Coalville’s parish church, Christ Church on London Road, was built between 1836 and 1838. The architect was H.I. Stevens of Derby. In 1853, a chancel was added, making the building cruciform, and the church was restored between 1894 and 1895. Vestries for the clergy and choir were erected on the north side of the chancel in 1936.

The building is a plain and routine example of Early English style revival, comprising nave, trancepts, chancel and western tower. The tower contains four bells, played on a clavier and has embattled parapets; access to the church is via the main west door, located in the ground floor stage of the tower. The local historian, Edgar Hawthorn, claims that construction of the church was funded by the great engineer George Stephenson, though this assertion has been called into question by more recent historians.

The tower contained a single bell until 1936, when a further three bells were presented by Dr Francis E Knowles of America. Dr Knowles had ordered these bells from the foundary of John Taylor at Loughborough, but in the meantime, the church in America, with which the bells were ordered for, was destroyed by a tornado. Through the influence of the then vicar, the Reverend W A J Martyr, Dr Knowles (originally of Melbourne in Derbyshire) was persuaded to present them to Christ Church, Coalville.

The church houses a brass memorial plaque to the victims of the Whitwick Colliery Disaster in 1989, and the gravestones of James Stephenson and his daughter who died aged only fourteen. James Stephenson came to Coalville through the influence of his brother, George Stephenson, to work as an official at the Snibston Colliery. There is a memorial to the fallen of the parish of both World War I and World War II in the Lady Chapel. This is in the form of a reredos behind the chapel alter.

In 1859, an Act of Parliament decreed that ‘for the protection of the public health’, no further burials should take place in the church yard, ‘with the exception of the part of the ground on the south of the church, in which no burial shall take place, except in brick graves, in which each coffin shall be separately entombed in an air-tight manner’. The same legislation also ordered that ‘burials be wholly discontinued in the General Baptist Chapel Burial-ground’, which was located just a short distance away from the church, near the present day Council offices.

The small churchyard contains the grave of Amos Clarke, who, although blind from the age of eight days, was organist at Christ Church for some fifty years. Following his death in 1930, he was buried on the south side of the church as near to the organ as possible - at his own request.

The church has a rectory in the grounds plus some church rooms all still in use. The church is a centre of worship for the people of Coalville and holds regular services every weekend and throughout the week. ‘Christ Church may not be the oldest or prettiest church in Leicestershire’ says the warden, ‘but it is a thriving church and has some interesting memorials.

The longest serving vicar of Christ Church was the Reverend William Gardner, who held the living for thirty-three years. The east window was installed as a memorial to the Reverend Gardner, and also his wife and daughter.

Vicars of Christ Church, Coalville

Hello, and thank you for visiting the website of Christ Church Coalville.

Christ Church is in the parish of Coalville and is in a joint benefice with St Peter’s Church in Bardon and St Michael’s Church in Ravenstone. Our Vicar is Rev. Captain Martin Joss, Church Army. We are part of The Church of England, within the Diocese of Leicester.

The services held here at Christ Church every Sunday are as follows:

    First Sunday of the month: 8.00am Said Holy Communion.

                              10.15am Celebrate Together Family Service.

    Second Sunday of the month: 10.15 Holy Communion.

                                                    6.00pm Evensong.

   Third Sunday of the month: 10.15am Morning Worship.

                                                 6.00pm Holy Communion.

   Fourth Sunday of the month: 10.15am Holy Communion.

                                                   6.00pm Evensong.

If there is a fifth Sunday in the month we join our brother’s and sister’s from St Peter’s and St Michael’s for a joint Holy Communion service and alternate the church in which we worship at. Then at 6.00pm there is a Songs of Praise service at Christ Church.

Tea and coffee are always served after the 10.15 services where we can stay and have a chat and a catch up.

There is a midweek said Holy Communion service held every Tuesday at 12.30pm and usually lasts about 20 minutes.

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