Whissendine, St Andrew
Set within the charming Rutland village of Whissendine, St Andrew’s is famous for its impressive C14th west tower, which dominates the landscape and can be seen from miles away.
One of the largest churches in Rutland, this magnificent Grade I listed building was extensively restored in 1865-70 and most of the fittings and furnishings date from the Victorian era. A medieval screen from the old chapel at St John's College, Cambridge was installed in the south aisle during the restoration.
The nave roof is graced with a series of very fine carved timber figures, dating from medieval and later periods. Seated figures wearing what appear to be mitres probably represent saints. Some carvings represent musicians and singers while others depict human and animal heads.
St Andrew's is home to a long-established maternity colony of Natterer's bats, with accumulations of droppings under roosting sites behind some of the carved corbals in the nave roof.
There is extensive urine staining and droppings scattered throughout the church, with the bats flying around inside throughout the summer breeding season.
The church is working with the Bats in Churches project to find out how the bats are using the church and to find sustainable solutions to reduce the mess, smell and nuisance without harming the bats.
The church is planning on organising bat walks in future, with experts from the Leicestershire and Rutland Bat Group.