Frederick, the 4th Earl Spencer (b.1798 d.1857) built the church of St. John as a Chapel of Ease and a memorial to his first wife, the former Elizabeth Georgina Poyntz whom he had married in 1830. He became the 4th Earl when his brother died in October 1845. His first wife died in 1851.
View from West and view from South of St John's spire as of Feb 20th 2009
The church consisted of a chancel, nave and tower with a tall spire and was built in the local brown ironstone of the area. Apparently in the 19th Century and early in the 20th services were held on a regular basis. The Earl had provided the church for the convenience of villagers from Little Brington and Nobottle, who found it difficult to attend St. Mary’s in Great Brington (almost 1 mile distant ). St. John's could seat approximately 150 people. St. John’s was licensed for baptisms and marriages but funerals would have been held in Great Brington as well as all burials.
"I was born in Great Brington in 1932 and can remember as a child when one of my grandmothers lived less than a hundred yards from St. John’s and it was still being used for Harvest Festivals and other special occasions. It fell into a state of disrepair, mainly because of the leaking roof. The main body of the church was demolished after the war in 1947, however, at the request of the Air Ministry the distinctive tower with its octagonal spire was spared. It had become a landmark to navigators and probably is serving the same purpose today. The spire can be seen for many miles in every direction and is invariably a mystery to passersby. No plaque or sign explains its rather brief history and perhaps that is something that should be rectified"
The narrow entrance to the circular staircase within the tower has been sealed up to prevent vandalism and the weather vane and lightning conductor have been renovated in recent memory.
Postcard ( postmark Sep 26 1907 ) View of Little Brington Church from a private collection kindly loaned by Mr Tony Ambler.