Nanpantan Mission Room, known as St. Mary in Charnwood since 1957, stands in isolation on Nanpantan Road, to the west of its junction with Woodhouse Lane and Snell’s Nook Lane, near Loughborough.
The current building was built in 1888 to the design of Alfred Burder on a site gifted by Edward Handley Warner, who also paid for all the building work and fitting out. Although still living at The Elms, Leicester Road, at the time, Edward H. Warner owned Nanpantan Hall and was having alterations and improvements made prior to moving in. Interestingly, the architectural firm of R. J. &. J. Goodacre, of Friar Lane, Leicester, was responsible for overseeing these alterations and improvements. The architects placed Mr. Hibbins in as clerk of works, who also undertook the same role at the Mission Room.
Alfred Burder’s original design was developed by early September 1887, which he outlined in a letter to William Berridge, of No. 12, Victoria Street, Loughborough, a licensed lay reader at the Mission Church:
I send you with this the Dearing for the proposed Mission Room at Nanpantan.
I estimate the cost approximately at £270 0 0 assuming that the Stone is given and that the cartage of it and bricks is also given.
This estimate is exclusive of fencing and drainage and bell but includes chairs, seats for the choir and stove.
The walls are assumed to be built of the Whittle Hill stone with the quoins from Bawdon Castle, the walls being lined with brick and plastered, the roof to be plastered under the rafters and tiles: the floors to be of wood.
Ventilation is provided by means of upright tubes in the thickness of the wall, with outlets at the window sills and exit ventilator at the ridge.
Under Mr Warner’s directive, Alfred Burder, in March 1888, undertook a tendering ‘competition’ engaging several builders including William Needham, timber merchant, builder and saw mill proprietor of Regent Street, Loughborough and John Purnell & Son, builders and contractors, of Pennington Street, Rugby.
Whilst William Needham won the contract, work didn’t start for several months. A further small delay was brought about by forgetting to obtain planning permission. It was Edward Warner, in late May, who realised that the site lay in the parish of Loughborough and therefore permission was required form the Local Board. Alfred Burder and William Needham managed to submit their plans to for consideration at the Local Board’s Building Plans Committee meeting on 2nd June. The plans were approved by the Committee, without alteration.
Mr. Hibbins, suggested whilst recognising that Whittle Hill was stone was “very good” thought that stone from a quarry about half a mile away from the proposed site “where you could get enough walling stone for a very small sum – better than the Whittle Hill on De Lisle Estate – a person said if Squire Warner was to ask he could get it per cost – by quarrying it – good stone and large series”. Mr Hibbins also added that “Bawdon Castle stone – will cost 4 times as much as Bath – a good Colour…”
Building work proceeded a pace and by mid-August, the walls were up and the rafters in place.
The original plan has been to plaster the walls inside; however, Mr. Warner having visited the site in mid-July decided that the stone-work once cleaned and properly pointed “looked very well”, so he decision was made to leave them un-plastered. Wood flooring was provided by The Wood Block Flooring Co., of No. 22 Charing Cross, London and laid by Mr. Needham.
By mid- November, Mr. Warner was keen to complete the building and had arranged for the opening to take place on 25th. Following a visit on the 20th Mr. Warner, complained about the bell “..find the arrangements for ringing the Bell very bad. It makes an awful scraping noise on the pulley and it is most difficult to ring…”. The problem of the bell had been a longing running issue, dating back to mid-September, when Alfred Burder wrote to John Taylor & Sons, who provided the bell, complaining of a problem with fixing the bell with the planned pent roof over. Messrs. Taylor argued that the wall with integral chimney was not “nearly massive enough to bear the swinging of a very small bell…”. Over the following months, numerous alterations and modifications were tried by the architect, clerk of works and builder to rectify the problem, but obviously not to Mr. Warner’s satisfaction.
Heating was provided by a free-standing coal-fired stove, installed by Messrs. E.W.H. Shorland, St Gabriel’s Works, Erskine Street, Manchester, at one end of the church. This arrangement proved ineffective and in response to a complaint, Mr. Shorland recommended moving the boiler to a more central position or installing a second stove further along the chancel.
In February, 1890 Mr. Warner requested Mr Burder, find a location for a coal store and install a W.C. suitable location for the coal cellar was quickly agreed although Mr. Warner was less happy with that of the W.C. responding “… which I think had better be simply a pit under the seat going under the wall with a slab outside so that it can be emptied from outside. I don’t suppose it will be used 6 times per year”. Mr. Needham subsequently quoted £18 to build the cellar and closet, using quoins of Mansfield Stone. This was accepted on 14th February, based upon the need to complete the work within three weeks.
Mr. Needham submitted his final invoice at the end of December, claiming a total of a little over £397, of which he had already received £210 in 2 stage payments. However, the final settlement didn’t take place until the following May. The original contract with Mr. Needham to build the Mission Room was £308 with an additional £10 for using Bath Stone quoins. The agreed additional work amounted to £11 4s 1d., for increasing the height of the buildings, making storage below the floor at the east end, stove and additional choir seating. These together with £18 for the coal cellar and W.C., brought the final total to £347 4s. 1d., an original estimate of £260.
In 1896 the Mission Room was conveyed to Trustees for “….conducting Church of England services and promoting religion within the Ecclesiastical Parish of Emmanuel, Loughborough”.
In 1957, the church was dedicated as St Mary in Charnwood. In the 1960s a new flat-roofed vestry was built but replaced in 1999 by a large Chapter House, incorporating kitchen and toilet facilities. In 1995 its status was changed to joint parish church with Emmanuel and at the beginning of 2015, it became its own parish. In 1998, the church was gifted an acre of adjacent woodland. In 2012, the choir stalls and wooden pillars were removed.