The wherewithal for a new church building came from the bequest in 1816 of £4,000 from the will of the late vicar, Rev William Daniels. The land for the new church building was obtained from John Clark Townsend of Bishopgate in London, who had obtained a share of the patronage of the church.
In 1835 the first stone was laid and the event recorded by the vicar, Rev Harry Townsend Powell. He wrote:
The bells in the old wooden steeple called up the villagers on Whit Tuesday morning to prepare for a scene that had never been known in Stretton before…I can fancy myself in the very act of admiring the care with which Mr Marriott smoothed the mortar with his trowel…seeming to join with all his heart in the prayer which followed…May God give His blessing on this good work which has now begun in the glory of His Name.
The new building cost £5,232 and was opened exactly two years later in 1837 in the presence of some 5,000 people, with bands playing and streamers waving. Again the vicar led the prayers announcing, “the glorious work is now accomplished…may the Lord give it His blessing’’.
The architect was Thomas Rickman, a major figure in the Gothic revival movement in eccesiastical architecture.
It was, and apart from the rebuilt choir vestry, still is, a symmetrical design both outside and in. Whichever view one takes from any point one side matches the other. The exception to this is the former choir vestry, now the kitchen, which was demolished early in the 20th century, and rebuilt in a way which does not at all match the other vestry or indeed any other part of the church.
The exterior walls were built using Attleborough stone from Nuneaton, while the interior walls were simply built of brick covered with a plaster rendering. Because the walls were quite tall and slim, iron ties were used to hold the walls together. These were also used to fix stone carvings to parts of the walls. Over the years these have rusted and caused the problem of fractured stonework.
Text originally from the Draycote Benifice website, and reproduced with their permission.