Saturday, 2 November 2013


Black and white church


St Oswald’s church at Lower Peover in Cheshire is one of the last remaining black and white, timber framed churches in the country.   It was built in 1269 and the stone tower was added some 300 years later.   
Lower Peover Church
One of its notable possessions is a ‘bog-oak, dug out’ chest with five locks securing a huge lid.   Local legend has it that at one time, any prospective bride of a Cheshire farmer was required to be able to lift the heavy lid with one hand.

Adel Church
The church of St John the Baptist at Adel on the north western outskirts of Leeds, is one of the finest Norman churches in Yorkshire with many fine stone carvings and is renowned for its carved doorway illustrating St John’s vision in the Book of Revelations.  It dates to 1150 and is a Grade 1 listed building . 
St John's Church
The huge bronze ring on the door is a Sanctuary Ring some 700 years old.   It is made up of a circular plaque on which the head of a beast about to swallow a man, has a moveable ring through its mouth.   Once a miscreant had grasped this handle he had the right to demand sanctuary. A similar ring can be seen on the doorway at Durham Cathedral and at All Saints Church in York..

There are several old stones in  the churchyard and one of them is very similar in  appearance to the sanctuary seat at Beverley.


Nigg Old Church

This redundant church at Nigg in north Eastern Scotland  preserves a very fine Pictish cross slab which was formerly in the churchyard. See

There is also a fine survivor from former times in the shape of a 'Poor Loft' which is now blocked off. This area was not for poor people - quite the opposite. People occupying these pews in the 19th century paid a 'pew rent' which was a way of raising money for the Parish Poor Fund. Poor people had to stand in the body of the church.

 A local story has it that in the 19th century the church beadle allowed an illicit still to be kept in the space under the pulpit!

 There is a cholera stone in the churchyard which dates from the cholera epidemic of 1832. The story goes that an elder of the church saw a cloud of vapour hovering above the ground in the churchyard. Believing it to be a cloud of cholera, he threw a blanket or cloth over it and placed the large stone on top to keep it from escaping.


Nigg Old Church
The Pictish cross
The Poor Loft

Deserted village and church
 It is believed that there are more than 3,000 deserted medieval villages in England and the sites of some of them have been destroyed by modern development. Wharram Percy on the Yorkshire Wolds, 6 miles S.E of Malton on the B1248, is one of the best preserved deserted villages in the country. From a reasonably prosperous village in the 14th century with two manors, this village declined through the next 150 years until it was finally deserted c1500. The only remaining building of that time is the ruined church. The site is now in the care of English Heritage.


Warram Percy

War damaged church

A plaque on the wall of the bombed church of St Martin-Le-Grand in Coney Street, York reads :

'This ancient church of St Martin
gave the message of Salvation and
hope to York from earliest days until 1942.
From 29 April 1942 until 28 April 1968 she
slept in ruins, almost destroyed by incendiary
bombs, disturbed only by the pigeons.
On 28 April 1968 she awoke from her sleep
to guard this Sacred plot when she was re-hallowed
 at the hands of the Archbishop of York to become a
Shrine of Remembrance for all who died in the two
world wars, a Chapel of peace and reconciliation
between Nations and between men, surrrounded by
a garden of rest for the weary in  the heart of York.
The unique organ was presented by the
German Government and the German Evangelical
Church and was warmly received as a token of
such reconciliation'.

The church was badly damaged in an air raid of 1942.
In the 1960's it was decided to salvage as much as possible of the church and a small chapel was constructed to house the donated organ and the 32 foot stained glass early 15th century window which had mercifully been removed for preservation in 1940.
The remainder of the ground became the garden of rest.

St Martin's Church

The church is well known for its distinctive double sided clock topped by the 'Little Admiral'. 
With a trtaditional turret movement it was the last of its kind to be installed in England.
It dates to 1668 and was damaged in the 1942 raid. The clock survived the fire in 1942 and was returned to its original position in 1966. It was restored in 2011.


Largest Parish Church


The Parish Church of St Nicholas at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk is said to be the biggest parish church in the country, now rebuilt after it was destroyed by enemy action in WW2, it is a very fine edifice.   Some unusual entries from the old church register make interesting reading.

St Nicholas Church



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