One of my favourite local buildings. This is Church Langton rectory in Leicestershire, sitting in front of you as you navigate the village (one of five Langtons) on the Market Harborough to Melton Mowbray road with a small green and signpost out at the front. I find something satisfyingly timeless about it, with sunlight on the Georgian orange brick, the feeling that perhaps the rector is within, preparing his sermon to be preached in the equally satisfying Perpendicular church at the back. Except he isn't anymore. The building, started in 1778 by one of the long line of Church Langton Hanburys, is flanked on either side by pedimented screens designed to make the building look more imposing. They are simply dummies, a nice Georgian trompe d'oeil touch. Where did all the money come from? Well, the father of the builder was the Rev. William Hanbury, a man of great means whose twin passions of music and arboriculture led to a two day fundraising festival here in 1759. Handel's Messiah was performed, a few months after the composer's death in April. The country lanes were jammed for miles with the carriages of the nobility, and once the hotels in Market Harborough were full, accommodation was offered in much humbler abodes. When the trumpets and kettle drums started up the common people became sore afraid, thinking it was the Day of Judgement.
4 days ago