Seven Hundred Years of History in the Heart of Syston

There’s a chance to visit Syston’s oldest building on 21st September when St Peter and St Paul’s Church holds an Open Day from 11.00am until 4.00pm, (the same day as the History Society Open Day). Parts of the present church building date back to the 13th century, but there was a previous building on the site that is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.

The history of the church has been closely entwined with the history of the town throughout the centuries. If you’ve seen the building from the outside, do come and visit and view the beautiful spacious interior, with its wealth of unique historic features. These include the 15th century nave roof with a host of carved and painted faces, angels and roof bosses.

If you were baptised in the church as a baby, you would of course have been unaware that the font is 700 years old. Or that the font was removed from the church during the reign of Henry 8th during the Reformation, and later found lying in a field nearby. And we have a very rare plaque up in the roof that commemorates the accession of King Edward 8th, who abdicated the throne on 11th December 1936 only a few days after the workmen had finished putting the plaque up. Rumour has it that they said something to the effect that ‘they weren’t going right up there again to take it down. It’d have to stay up now it was up.’ And so it has stayed up there in the roof, and is quite a rarity as there are very few churches that have one.

It’s a wonderful building full of stories and history and atmosphere. There will be displays of old photos, a Powerpoint presentation of Syston 100 years ago, a display of antique christening gowns in the chapel, and guides to help you make the most of your visit. Entry is free. The 15th century tower will also be open from 1.00pm until 4.00pm. So if you’re feeling energetic and are over seven years of age you can climb to the top and see the whole of the town and surrounding area laid out before you. There will be a charge of £2 per person to go up the tower, which will go towards the upkeep of the tower and the bells.

If you live in Syston, it’s your parish church. So don’t just visit it for a wedding or funeral, come and get to know this ancient Grade One listed building a little. You can be sure of a warm welcome, and if you have memories associated with the church, we’re also providing a book for you to record them in, so that they too become part of the history.

Felicity Austin