For this church:
The first mention of the church is in 1210 when “Reginald Basset and Richard Putrell (Powdrell) released all their right and claim to the advowson of the church of Thurmodeston (Thrumpton) by Fine Rolls 12 John I to Ranulph, Prior of Norton (Cheshire) and his successors”.
Thrumpton (and Kingston-on-Soar) were acquired by the priory of Norton who had also acquired Ratcliffe on Soar church in 1135 and was seeking expansion. Ratcliffe became the mother church and Thrumpton and Kingston were considered chapelries. Norton built in stone and the western part of the nave dates from this period. They probably built the tower later.
Thrumpton and Kingston were sold to the Prior of Burscough in Lancashire in 1354 again along with Ratcliffe although the sale was not confirmed by York until 1381. At that time the combined livings were valuable, the Prior of Burscough stating that “the acquisition was the only thing which staved off bankrupsy of the Priory”. Burscough had been established by Norton to provide a site for a leper hospital.
The Hospitallers also had a presence in the village for in the same year the manor at Thrumpton (not to be confused with the Hall) was granted by the Prior and Brethren of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem to Sir John Waleis (Waleys) Knt in exchange for the manor of Dalby in Leicestershire.
In 1535 Burscough came within the orbit of Henry VIII’s commissioners, being valued at less than £300, and in 1536 was dissolved. Thrumpton (and Kingston) obtained a degree of independence but in 1603 it was still listed as a chapel.
The Powdrells, residing in Thrumpton Hall, were strict Catholics and hid the Catholic leader Father Garnet in the Hall’s priest hole around this time. It is unlikely that they would risk saying mass in the chapel but mass was almost certainly said in the Hall. The Powdrells paid the price for hiding a priest and, following the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, were fined the value of Thrumpton Hall. It was therefore sold to Gervase Pigott (the first) to pay the fine in 1605/6.
An entry in the Letters Patent of James I dated 9th July 1606 states that the King granted “Gervase Pigot, gent, the rectory of Ratcliff-on-Sore [sic], in Thrumpton, with all the rights and appurtenances etc”. It would seem that Thrumpton achieved independence from this year but from the Bishop’s Presentments it would appear that Thrumpton and Kingston retained the responsibility for the maintenance of the side aisles of Ratcliffe church. This was unpopular with both Thrumpton and Kingston congregations and the repairs were neglected, leading to the church wardens at Ratcliffe reporting Thrumpton (and Kingston) to the Archbishop of York in 1618. This complaint was repeated annually with increasing frustration and in 1624 Ratcliffe named the four churchwardens responsible for the neglect as Thomas Masson, John Hallam, Robert Whitehead and Roger Kitcheley. This appears to have had the desired affect because the aisles are reported to be repaired in 1625 although some “reparations” had to be made in 1626.
It would appear that from this date Thrumpton and Kingston became fully independent of Ratcliffe for nothing firm is found on any support for the former mother church.
In 1662 William Dugdale, Norrey King of Arms, visited Thrumpton and reported that Gervase Pigot was:
descended from a branch of the Picots of Ratcliffe and therefore entitled to bear the arms of that family
The armorial display was therefore changed and the revised armorial design is shown on two of the church monuments.
Gervase Pigott, the master of Thrumpton Hall, carried out some improvements to Thrumpton church but this has been swept away in later rebuilding. One feature that has remained is the Pigot memorial. This was formerly established in the chancel but was moved to the tower in 1870. It was restored back to its position in the chancel in 1950. The date of the creation of this is uncertain but is believed to be between 1673 and 1695 and the location of its 1870 position can be seen by a change in stone colour in the tower base.
On the 9th May 1673 there was an entry in the Calendar for Treasury Books for rents from “the rectory of Ratcliffe in Thrumpton – £6-13-4”. What this is for is unknown unless this is a trailing charge levied by the crown as a result of the 1606 grant. However, Throsby writing in 1797, records, “in that year both Thrumpton and Kingston were paying small charges” but he was not specific as to how much.
Gervase Pigot the third was known as a wastrel having embezzled the revenues of the grandson of Ratcliffe’s Lady Lucy Grantham. Eventually, he was forced to sell his estates to pay his debts the Hall being acquired by the mortgagee, John Emmerton of London.
Some details are known about the church in the 18th century from the writings of two 19th century historians, Godfrey and Stretton. Godfrey repeats Stretton’s visitation record in 1819 and mentions that it had been re-pewed in 1795 when the east window was also renewed. This would be under the direction the Emmerton family.
On the 3rd August 1843 Lucy Elizabeth Jane Wescomb the eldest niece of Emmerton-Wescomb family married George Anson, 8th Lord Byron, forging a connection between Thrumpton and Newstead.
In 1851, Thrumpton had a population of only 133. There was an afternoon service in the church attended by 55 people and another 17 were in the Sunday School. A Wesleyan chapel, opened the previous year, attracted 50 people to its evening service.
In June 1870 Lord and Lady Byron spearheaded preparations for, and the achievement of a faculty to put in hand an extensive rebuilding of the east end on the Nave and the Chancel. Lady Byron, the incumbent the Rev Philip Henry Douglas and a churchwarden William Thomas Norman, as well as “diverse other parishioners”, were signatories to the application. The faculty was issued by the Consistory Court on 3 June 1870.
The 8th Lord Byron died on 18 November 1870 and was buried at Thrumpton, but his widow, Lady Lucy Byron, went ahead with the work under the terms of the faculty. The work was carried out under the direction of George Edmund Street, and the contractor was a Mr Clipsham. The work was completed in December 1871.
The work on the church was extensive and included an extension to the chancel, and an alcove to the north side in which the organ now stands, with a vestry behind. The vestry can also be accessed from a door to the north side of the church.
Altogether the rebuilding work cost £3,400 which was raised by subscription.
Rev Philip Douglas was rector of the parish for 51 years until his death in post in 1914 aged 79. In 1878 he married Lady Byron, and so became the patron of the parish as well as the resident incumbent. It was said of him that
Mr Douglas belonged to a type of country clergyman which is fast disappearing. A well-read scholar of no mean attainments, an excellent preacher of helpful sermons, a cultured ‘gentleman’ in the best sense of the word ... For more than half a century he went ‘in and out’ amongst his parishioners in the quiet retired riverside village of Thrumpton, with a friendly word and act for old and young, and his unostentatious kindness will long be treasured in their memories.
His wife, Lady Lucy Byron, died at Thrumpton in 1912 and was buried in the churchyard. On Douglas’s death two years later the patronage passed to the Rev and Hon F E C Byron, who installed himself as vicar!
Thrumpton’s population rose to 167 in 1901 but then fell back to 133 in 1912. In 1912 there were 125 seats in the church, 25 on the roll of the church school, 29 on the roll of the Sunday School, and in the twelve months to September 1912 there had been 15 baptisms and 7 confirmations.
The title was inherited by George Frederick William Byron as the 9th Lord. He died in 1917 and like his predecessors, was buried at Thrumpton. The Byron title passed to a nephew as the 10th Lord. Later the Hall was purchased by a nephew, George Fitzroy Seymour, father of the current owner.
Local historian, Harry Gill, writing in 1924, complained that the church interior was so dark that the memorials could not be read, the lighting being by paraffin lamp. When electric light was installed in Thrumpton Hall the church was fitted out as well.
Little change has taken place to the church since the 19th century. One noted addition is the War Memorial which is very unusual and dates from 1923.
Registers exist from 1679.