The History of our Church
The present Church building is at least the fourth church on this site, previous ones having been built in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. Until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII the church was served by Priests appointed by Lenton Priory. The 13th century Font is lead lined and dates from the reign of Henry III, and is therefore the oldest relic in the church.
The Nave, Tower, South Porch and former Vicar’s Vestry (now a chair store) date from 1843-44 and were designed by George Gilbert Scott, a distinguished Victorian architect. The foundation stone can be seen in one of the toilets in the Porch. The Tower is 74 feet in height and contains 10 bells, six dating from 1870, two from 1877 and two from 1998.
The Nave is built in the Late Perpendicular style of architecture. The nave windows are of Victorian stained glass. The most valuable window was designed by Charles E. Kempe, the distinguished Victorian stained glass designer and manufacturer. His ‘trade mark’ is peacock’s feathers for angels’ wings. The West Window (above the West Door) is entitled ‘The Doom’ and was installed in 1877 in memory of John Watson, the owner of Beeston’s Silk Mill. The pulpit of Nottingham Alabastar is in memory of the Revd. T.J. Oldrini, vicar of the Parish from 1854 to 1885.
The Chancel was probably built during the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547) and was the only part retained in the rebuilding of 1843-44. The original doorway through which the Priests would have entered the Church can still be seen. The windows in the sanctuary all contain Victorian glass, the oldest being the large East window. The lower panels depict St John the Baptist (centre) with Isaiah, Moses, Aaron and King David on either side. The upper panels have Jesus in the centre, flanked by the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The high altar dates from just before the First World War. Behind it is a Reredos depicting ‘The Last Supper’ donated by Mr C.F. Fellows in 1880.
The Choir Vestry was added in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. An incised slab on the outer wall records this.
Following the loss of the Church Hall by Arson on 5th November 2004, the South Porch was converted into a toilet block and dedicated in July 2006. In September 2007 the Church was closed for refurbishment. The stonework, rafters and windows were cleaned and new protective grills fixed on the outside of the windows. The pews were removed and under-floor heating installed. The font was repositioned and surrounded by inscribed stonework. A large dais was installed at the east end of the Nave and
the new altar furniture was crafted by Nicholas Hobbs of Wirksworth. A new Rodgers two-manual digital organ has been installed in the Nave with the speakers positioned on the west wall. Upholstered chairs replaced the pews in the nave. Cupboards and kitchen facilities were installed at the west end of the church, and a large projection screen has been fitted behind the chancel arch which can be lowered when required. A mezzanine floor was installed in the choir vestry and former organ chamber to create two upstairs rooms and two downstairs rooms and a toilet. New lighting was installed throughout to highlight the ecclesiastical and architectural features of the church, and a new speaker system has also been installed.
The church was reopened on Sunday 13th April 2008; the new altar was dedicated by Bishop Roy Williamson on 20th April and the church rededicated on 22nd June by the Right Revd. Tony Porter, the Bishop of Sherwood.
The exterior of the church was cleaned and restored in the summer of 2013.
The church is usually open each weekday from 11.30am to 1.30pm, and you would be most welcome to visit us and explore our wonderful building. A printed guide is available and stewards are on duty to answer any questions you may have.