Sutton Bonington
St Anne


The Domesday survey of 1086 refers to Sudtone and Bonitone. It does not mention a church.

St. Anne’s was probably here about 1100. At that period there were two adjacent parishes; Sutton and Bonington both with their own medieval churches, St. Anne's and St. Michael's. In Anglo-Saxon times the two parishes were known as Bonington or Buna's settlement and Sutton the south settlement.

During the Middle Ages the parishes gradually merged into one of co-operation.

The 12th century Lordship of St Anne's was held by the de Diva family of Gotham. Hugh de Diva at his death in 1210, being the last of the male line, bequeathed the manors to be divided between his three daughters and co-heirs, namely Matilda, Alice and Ascelin. By this deed the church of St. Anne was given to the Priory of Calke in Derbyshire. The Prior of Repton became the Patron of St Anne's and appointed the priest and a clerk until the dissolution of the priories and monasteries in 1538 when Repton Priory was dissolved and the canons pensioned. However, the Priory of Calke remained with the Crown until 1547 when Edward VI gave it to the Earl of Warwick. The patronage of St. Anne's, like some other churches in the area, was eventually reclaimed by the Crown. In 1525 the Rector was William Stanley. Lord Berkeley foreseeing the dissolution coming (in 1536) presented him, Stanley, to St Michaels, Bonington (the neighbouring parish), and he retained the living, St Anne's parish. He became rector of both churches only for a short time, and died in 1541.

In 1291 the taxatio of Pope Nicholas IV taxed the two churches of St Anne and St Michael together at a clear annual value of 16 marks (£10 13s. 4d.). An interesting note appended to the church of Kegworth, Leicestershire, indicates that the Bonington churches were formerly dependant chapels of Kegworth but had changed status very soon after after 1291-2 and become a parish in its own right, an unusual example of a cross see dependancy and transfer: 'Nec plus valet hiis diebus quia capella de Bonington' nuper pertinens ad eandem nunc matrix ecclesia est effecta in diocesi Eborum et ibi taxatur in archidiaconatu Notinghamie in decanatu de Bingham' (Nor is it [Kegworth] worth more these days because the chapel of Bonnington, formerly belonging to it has been established as a mother church in the diocese of York and is taxed there in the archdeaconry of Nottingham in the deanery of Bingham). The reference here may principally have concerned St Michael's but must refer also to the status of St Anne which may, prior to this date, have been a chapel in the diocese of York serving Bonington, but appropriated to Repton.

Confirmation that the church(es) of Bonington had been transferred to York is found in the register of Archbishop John le Romeyn for the date 22 June 1293 where we find: 'Admission by Nicholas de Segrave senior, that he and his heirs were bound to present their nominees to the church of Bonyngton' to the archbishop and his successors at every vacancy ; and that the archdeacon and his ministers should have jurisdiction in Bonyngton as in the other churches of the diocese'. In February 1295 the archbishop forbad the rector of Kegworth to remove any of the fruits from Bonington ('...quod non permittet Thomam de Neville, rectorem ecclesie de Kegworth', quicquam de fructibus aut proventibus ipsius ecclesie...').

The 'Inquisitiones Nonarum', a subsidy of the ninth of corn, lambs, and wool granted in 1341 to Edward III during the French wars, taxed Bonington at sixteen marks. In similar manner, the 1428 subsidy of Henry VI taxed Bonington at £1 1s. 4d., i.e. 10 percent of £10 13s. 4d. showing there had been no change in value since 1291.

The 'Valor Ecclesiasticus' made by Henry VIII in 1536 does not mention St. Anne's but fixed St. Michael's at £15 2s. 1d. a year, William Ordenna being Rector.

The Commissioners of Church goods 6 March 1553 handed over to John Wayte parson of Bonington ‘one chalyce of sylver p'sell gylte for ye admynistration of ye holy comunyon as also three belles of one accorde hang­ynge in ye styple of ye same churche.’

These chalices were Pre-reformation chalices and, as the result of Archbishop Parker's enquiry in 1569, and Archbishop's Grindal’s Injunction, were melted down as ‘massing cups’ and reissued in cup form.

In 1589 the churchwardens reported that the church was 'in decay', and in 1598 ' the church lead is a little thrown up with the last wind'.

In 1602 the churchwardens presented to the Archdeaconry court W. Evington for drawing fodder ‘upon the Sabbath day after evening prayer’. In 1603 there were 60 communicants in the parish, and no dissenters.

At the time of Archbishop’s Herring’s visitation in 1743 there were about twenty families, none of them dissenters. The vicar was an absentee living at Frisby in Leicestershire from whence he apparently travelled to Sutton Bonington to take services.

Charles Allen was the rector in 1764 at Archbishop Drummond’s Visitation. He noted that the parish of St Anne consisted of ten houses, of which three were farms and seven were cottages. There were no dissenters. Mr Allen lived in Leicester: ‘no rector in the memory of man was ever known to reside upon St Anne’s living, nor is there a convenience of residing for a family.’ He allowed his curate, Edward Whitley, £10 annually to take an afternoon service every Sunday and to administer Holy Communion three times a year. Whitley was the rector of St Michael, Sutton Bonington.

Throsby, visiting in the 1790s, referred to St Anne’s as ‘small, and barn-like built: a mutilated figure lies in the chancel wall. Near this church are some ruins with no marked features describable.’

Officially the two parishes remained separate until 1829 when local government reforms were introduced.

Sir Stephen Glynne visited the church in the 1840s. He described it as ‘a small church, consisting of a nave with north aisle, and long Chancel. There is no steeple but the west gable is extended into a belfry with two open arches for bells.’ He noted ‘an elaborate effigy of a knight rather mutilated, with an animal at his feet’.

In 1851 James Fyler, the rector made the return on census Sunday. He noted a total of 79 General Congregation and Sunday Scholars at the afternoon service, and added that ‘the services in this church being held together with Kingston-on-Soar, are afternoon and evening alternatively’. He gave an average of 60 attendees (General Congregation and Sunday Scholars) when the service was held in the evening.

In 1860 the church was largely restored including having the roof replaced and the 13th century windows refitted with replacement stone work and mullions as required.

Cox noted that the church had been ‘much restored in 1860 and 1877. All that is left of old church is of 1st half of 14th cent.’

A faculty of 14 September 1879 gave permission to restore the seating in the chancel.

In 1898, £157 6s 6d was spent on repairs to the pulpit, the screen, and a new brass eagle lectern.

The whole roof was re-roofed in 1902-3 using existing timbers.

A faculty gave permission to erect a memorial tablet to the war dead, 31 July 1920.

Ecclesiastically the parishes remained separate until the two parishes agreed to unite in 1923 on the orders of the Privy Council.

A faculty was granted on 25 October 1927 to permit the insertion of a door in the vestry west wall. Another, dated 10 May 1933, was for the installation of electric heating.

New heating apparatus was installed in November 1943.

It was not until 1948 the completion of the joint benefice could take place due to the requirement for both churches to be in interregnum at the same time. The Rev. T. W. Bryan became the first rector of both St Anne's and St Michael’s churches and was instituted in 1950.

The earliest register is a parchment book beginning in 1560 and was used until 1921 stitched to the first register at St. Michael's, probably by Thomas Savage or by the ‘Parish Register’. The Registers are complete to the present time and contain no notes of particular interest.