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Holy Trinity, New Lenton, Nottinghamshire

(52°56′56″N, 1°10′36″W)
New Lenton
SK 554 394
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Nottinghamshire
now Nottingham
  • Simon Kirsop
  • Simon Kirsop
27 February 2004

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Feature Sets

Since 1877 Lenton has been a part of the City of Nottingham, but in the 11thc it was a village to the W, between Nottingham and Wollaton. New Lenton was built on farmland to the W of Lenton to accommodate the expansion of both the village and the city, especially of the lacemaking industry. The church of the Holy Trinity was built in 1842 by Henry Isaac Stevens, and consists of a nave with aisles, chancel and W tower. It houses the font from Lenton Priory; one of the finest pieces of Romanesque sculpture in the county.


Lenton was held by William Peverel in 1086. Two carucates of land had 4 sokemen and 4 bordars, and a holding of 4 bovates, held by Olaf before the Conquest, also included 10 acres of meadow, 10 acres of scrubland and a mill. Olaf was still there, having one plough. At the beginning of the 12thc the Cluniac priory of Lenton was founded in the village by William Peverel, and its endowments included Lenton as well as the neighbouring manors of Keighton, Morton and Radford, as well as lands outside the immediate area.





The font was given to Holy Trinity by Lt-Col. Severus William Lynam Stretton, then owner of the Lenton Priory site, in 1842. The interpretation of the scenes is taken from Zarnecki (1998). The general outline of the iconography, given in the descriptions of the font, is not controversial, but Zarnecki makes other points that may be worthy of discussion as well as pointing out useful parallels. The scenes of Baptism, Resurrection and Crucifixion refer to the sacrament of Baptism performed at the font: the first directly; the second through the notion of a rebirth through the sacrament, and the last with relation to a passage from Romans 6, 3 that specifically links baptism with the Crucifixion. Four scenes on the font show Christ with a cross nimbus, and it is an unusual one with a cross alone, without the usual encircling halo. This is also seen on the font at Kirkburn in Yorkshire, and a tympanum at Rowlestone in Herefordshire but is otherwise rare in England. Zarnecki also makes the point that the depiction of the crucifixion of the thieves is rare in English Romanesque sculpture. It is found otherwise only on a tympanum at nearby Hawksworth, so the two may be related. Allen (1887, 52-53) related it to 6-7thc Palestinian ampullae and hence to a reliquary cross venerated in Jerusalem.

The Lazarus scenes on the W side of the font are precisely those shown on the reliefs at Chichester Cathedral, and like those famous panels the scenes have been linked to the liturgical drama. Zarnecki dates the font c.1140-60.


J R Allen, Early Christian Symbolism in Great Britain and Ireland, London 1887.

J C Cox, County Churches: Nottinghamshire, London 1912, 135-6.

J T Godfrey, The History of The Parish and Priory of Lenton, London 1884.

H Green, 'Lenton Priory' Transactions of the Thoroton Society 40 (1936), 29 -90.

N Pevsner and E Williamson, The Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire. 2nd Ed. London 1979 Reprinted (with corrections)1997, 253-4

G Zarnecki, 'The Romanesque Font at Lenton' British Archeological Associaton Conference Transactions, XXI (1998), 136-142.