Facts and Myths
Historic church where the soldiers sharpened their battle arrows.
Costock parish church is tucked away in a quiet lane in the centre of the village. Although it may not be as architecturally ambitious or as graceful as some in the district of Loughborough, there are several items of interest connected with the church.
Perhaps the most outstanding is the remains of what was at one time a richly canopied recess in the well of the church, in which lies the battered figure of a priest in robes. It is said that the head of the figure was knocked off by soldiers during the civil war.
There is some evidence that the recess and figure is in memory of the Rev. John Trewman, who was instituted in 1425, for in his will (dated 14 May 1427) he expressed a desire to be buried in the chancel at Costock. It is thought that the recess, or tomb, was built in the wall of the church to comply as near as possible with his wish.
Today much of the rich carving has been worn away, but the stonework has acquired additional significance historically for it is believed that the shallow depressions at the back were made by soldiers sharpening their arrows. Certainly a battle was fought on the hill outside Costock. Bones found during excavations in the lane behind the church a few years ago showed that horses were buried there.
Built into the wall near the recess is a fragment of what has been called a Saxon preaching cross, although some believe it looks more Celtic than Saxon.
The stone was probably part of a structure which stood on the land which is now the churchyard and its presence indicates there were religious gatherings long before the church was built.
There is too some doubt about the date of the first church at Costock. What is old is mainly 14th century but a lancet window is 13th. The font bowl, which stands on a much more modern pedestal, is 14th century and the cover was made from an old chest, for it bears half the names of the churchwardens. Just inside the church is a Bible printed in 1620 which was presented by Albert William Oldershaw in memory of his parent, who lived at Glebe farm until 1926 and attended this church for many years.
A memorial tablet records that Charles Sutton Millard, born 1834 and died 1912, was rector for 52 years and it was during his incumbency that the church was restored in 1863. Mr Millard must also have been a wood craftsman of some skill, for much of the carving in the aisles was his work. Of the poppy head bench ends six are 15th century but over 60, heads of animals, men and angels but mostly floral, were carved by Mr Millard.
The Domesday survey of 1086 does not record that Costock had either a priest or a church. Andrew de Cortingstoc, conjectured by Thornston to be the son of William who held lands in the district at the time of the survey, gave two bovates of land to the Priory of Lenton.
His son Robert confirmed the gift and gave his churches of Cortlingstock and Rempstone to the Priory, with a great curse on his heirs if any of them should annul the gift. Almost a century later the patronage of the churches at Cortlingstock and Rempstone passed to the Priory. It was on July 3, 1231 that the Archbishop of York confirmed to the Prior and Covenant of Lenton an annual pension of two shillings from the church, so it was obvious that there was a church at Costock over a century before the date given in the Diocesan Directory 1350.
Thomas Townsend, instituted March 18 1672, built a new parsonage house in 1676 at a cost of £200 and in his will gave a considerable library of books for his successors. He ordered that three catalogues of the books should be provided, one of which was to be in the custody of the patron of the benefice. These books, with the press which contained them, were in the possession of the Rev. Henry Twinbury in 1705 but after that there was no trace of them.
Bronze Age bones dug up
The grisly remains of a human skeleton gave two brothers the shock of their lives when they dug it up at their home. Robin and Daniel Whitbread thought they’d stumbled on a murder victim in their parents’ garden but they had unearthed a major archaeological find. The boys Robin, 14, and Daniel, 12, were knee-deep in mud when they scraped back the dirt to reveal a pile of old bones – a 3,500 year old female skeleton to be exact.
At first the two brothers, who had been helping dig foundations for an extension to the family home in Costock, thought they had come across animal remains. ‘We thought it was a cow’, said Robin. But as the pair dug deeper they found a perfectly preserved pair of gnashers, and realised it was no Fresian. ‘But then we went digging again and I put my hand inside the skull’ said Robin. ‘It scared me. I thought someone had been murdered’.
Robin and his family called West Bridgford police, who recognised the bones were old – extremely old. They contacted Dr John Samuels, a leading local archaeologist. In a report he estimated the skeleton, about 1.2m long, found lying face-up with the right arm across the chest, was from the Bronze Age, circa 3000BC. Dr Samuels also stated the skeleton seemed to be female, aged 16-20 years. He said ‘It’s certainly interesting, because as far as I know there have been no similar finds around the area’. The teeth were in very good condition, probably because of the suger-free diet. This is the first real clue of Bronze Age settlement in the area.