Open SesameThe Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham's enterprising Open Churches weekends in July were the answer to a church crawler's prayer. Our foray on 22nd into the countryside between Newark and Tuxford revealed some attractive churches and unexpected teasures.
Armed with Ashley Emery's magnificent Open Churches guidebook (Ashley is the son of our friend and former colleague Mike Emery) we selected 5 that were close to each other and all open on the same day. Some, it has to be said, were offering tea and cake.
All Saints, Sutton on Trent, one that did, was clearly an important church when it was built in the 13th Century. It still looks the part, with a substantial corner-buttressed tower, battlemented clerestorey and pinnacled Meering Chapel, built onto the chancel in 1525.
|All Saints, Sutton on Trent|
|Medieval rood loft and Meering Chapel|
|Sumptuous rood screen by Ninian Comper|
|The 5 Wounds of Christ|
A striking mid 20th Century statue by Stanislas Reychan depicts the Biblical story of the harrowing of hell. A plaque explains that Christ descended into hell on Easter Saturday, stabbing Satan and releasing all the souls there bar three - Herrod, Cain and Judas.
|The Harrowing of Hell|
Still in Laxton parish, the hamlet of Moorhouse has its own tiny church. The chapel was rebuilt in 1861 by the landowner, J E Denison, of Ossington, who was also the Speaker of the House of Commons. Access is through a farmyard but the interior is worth the trek.
|Interior of Moorhouse chapel|
|The chapel in a farmyard|
|Nollekins statue of Robert Denison|
|Holy Rood, Ossington|
After a surprising Georgian find, Norwell, our final church in this series, was back in the medieval mould, with effigies, corbel faces and a green man looking down from the roof. The church was large, light and airy, with a splendid clerestory. One of the columns felt decidedly cold and damp to the touch and the churchwarden told us that there had been a well under the church at one time. We were particularly grateful for the offer of hot tea at this point.
We were saddened to hear that lead had been stolen from the roof (a recurrent theme in these postings) but heartened that coated stainless steel had been allowed as a replacement in a Grade I listed building. Finally, Norwell benefits from a very detailed history on the Southwell and Nottingham Church History Project web site, which can be found at:
|Face on corbel|
|Effigy of a lady, south aisle|
|St Laurence, Norwell|