Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Buckland’s 1896 Book - The History of Woodborough etc.

Buckland ~ CHAPTER VI


Woodborough Church does not seem to have suffered much from actual wilful damage during the Reformation and the Puritan period. Of course all the goods just mentioned have disappeared; and the Rood Screen has been violently removed, the mortice holes in the pillar of the Chancel arch being splintered and filled with brick and plaster. There is no trace of any memorial of the Strelleys or of the stone altar, or of the side altar, or of any shrine of St. Swithun. But the tracery of the windows, the stained glass and the Gable crosses were spared. Neglect was the probable cause of all the dilapidation into which the Church fell, as appears from the fact that between 1578 and 1580, the Churchwardens were cited and fined for not repairing the Church and for not fining every one who did not come to Church, xiii d. The Lacocks appear to have kept the Church in some order. Charles Lacock recast the Tenor Bell in 1680 and it is probable that the Chancel floor was then raised to the level of the Sedilia and repaved with slabs of stone. Some Communion rails of oak, having bars alternately twisted and turned, were put in, and their similarity to the rails of the staircase in the Hall Farm House would show that they were given by Philip Lacock about 1660. At the Restoration of 1891 these rails, being much decayed, were sold to Miss Parkyns who introduced the best into the staircase of her new house The Communion vessels, a silver chalice with a silver lid and a silver paten, were given at the same time, as it proved by the Hall Marks of the time of Charles II. An oak pulpit with a sounding board was also fixed to the North pillar of the Chancel arch. This was so rotten and worm eaten in 1891 that it could not be re-fixed. A very handsome oak table with massive legs was given about the same time by John Woode, which now stands in the Vestry, and has the following Latin inscription:

Sacro usui me dedit Johannes, filius et heres Roberti Woode de Lambley  armigeri, qui Johannes fuit Recordator de Newarke, unus custodum pacis comitatus et Viridarius Forestæ de Sherwood, soli Deo Fretus. 
For Holy Use I was given by John son and heir of Robert Woode of Lambley, Esq., which John was Recorder of Newark, one of the Guardians of the Peace of the County and Verderer of the Forest of Sherwood, Trusting on God only.

Qui secum considerat quam vana et instabilis est potestas, is nihil timebit. Deum time et eum ama ut ameris ab eo. Amabis Deum si imitaberis eurn, in hoc autem omnibus vel prodesse et nulli nocere. 
He who considers the Vanity and Instability of Power will fear nothing. Fear God and love Him that you may be loved by Him. You will love God if you imitate him, especially in this, to help all men and hurt no man.

Eripe me inimicis meis Domine.  Ad te confugi. 
Save me from mine enemies, O Lord. In Thee have I put my trust

The name of the Giver and the Inscription imply that the Table was given as a thankoffering for the end of the Civil Wars and the Restoration of Charles II, for John Wood, of Woodborough, was appointed first Recorder of Newark, under the Charter of Incorporation by King Charles I. Thoroton says he was the grandson of Edward Montague, Miles et Justitiarius. He was one of the Verderers of Sherwood Forest, as appears by a petition to King James the First, signed by him and three other persons, viz., Christopher Strelley, Launcelot Rolleston and Gervas Wyld, to have their rights to a fee tree and a fee deer restored to them, which had lately been withheld.

[Dickinson's Newark, p. 163 and note. Talb. papers. Herald's Coll.]

It would seem that after the period of the Restoration the non-residence of the Southwell Prebends and the apathy of the laity allowed damp and decay to reign supreme. The Curates were miserably paid and quite unable to keep the Church in repair. So Thoroton, when he visited Woodborough and Calverton, about 1670, wrote, "Calverton, like Woodborough, is a great populous village with an empty Church for the most part;" and under Woodborough "The Vicarage of Woodborough was eight marks and the prebendary patron. It seems now to belong to those of Oxton, but being worth little or nothing a fair Church is unsupplied." Thoroton also gave a heraldic description of the arms of Strelley, Crumwell, Reresby, Wood, Everingham and Montenay which were in the windows or on the walls.

Throsby, about 100 years later, wrote, "The Chancel windows were once rich with painted glass, but now they are so filthy, broken and patched that little can be made out to please by description." I cannot discover that anything was done till the Rev. J. T. Hewes, who was Curate, 1811-1837, sold the lead on the aisle roofs and used the proceeds to cover all the roofs with blue Bangor slates in place of the old clay tiles. Village tradition says that the Church was "awful cold and damp, not fit for a pig to live in," that the soil was heaped up against the walls so as to drain away, the water from the roof, and that the inside walls were whitewashed once in five years to kill the mould and fungus; that the Chancel roof was covered with clay tiles, which were full of holes so that the birds flew in and out, and that both Chancel and Nave were ceiled across from wall to wall ; that there was not a sound seat in the Church, but that there were two old oak pews in the South aisle and one in North aisle and a large oak pew, occupied by the Story family, in the East end of the south aisle; that the Royal Arms and a flag were fixed in the N.E. bay of the Nave and the Creed and Commandments on either side of the Chancel arch; that there was an oak Screen across the Chancel arch, similar to the Screen in Lambley Church but having more work in in it, on which hung, for many years, two paper garlands in memory of two young girls, Mary Henson and Mary Wild; there were no hatchments. Tradition also says that there was a blue Gallery or loft under the Tower in which the Choir were placed. The Choir consisted of 4 violins, John and Alfred Marriott, James Donnelly and another; 2 bass viols, William Seardison and John Ragstall; I cornet, Joseph Bagulay; 1 flute, John Hind; 2 trombones, Samuel Gretton and another; and about 20 singers including Joseph, John and William Leaf, Louie Richardson, Charlotte Morris and Harriett Thompson. They used to sing part music, which was copied by Joseph Leaf from music purchased with the proceeds of an annual Oratorio, and could "crack off the Hallelujah Chorus" better than the present Choir and Organ. This Choir seems to have been broken up, and a harmonium was introduced into the new gallery with singing by the school children. It is also said that the chief entrance was by the West door and that there was a footpath across the Churchyard from the S.W. corner to the Punch Bowl Inn; that the Church was protected by a low wall and that the font was in the North aisle and afterwards in the Chancel.

The Rev. Samuel L. Oldacres, who became Curate in 1837, did his best to improve matters. In 1845 plans and estimates for the necessary repairs were prepared by Messrs. James and Jeremiah Nicholson, of Southwell, at an estimated cost of £198 l0s. It was proposed to defray the cost by a special Church Rate, but that plan failed, and part of the work was carried out by subscriptions. Rev. S. L. Oldacres, Mr. Samuel Matthews, and Mr. John Ingall Werge entered into a contract of £84 with one John Rose, for the following: "The Gallery with new front and ringers floors. Two new pews in the Chancel and two open seats in the place of Mr. Werg's pew. To repair the communion table and rails and also the pulpit and clean the same ready for varnishing."

It would seem that at this time the Chancel ceiling of fir-logs was removed and a rush and plaster ceiling coloured blue put up under the waggon-beams by one Henry Patching and that the oak screen, royal arms and flags were also removed in spite of some opposition. John Rose is said to have given the present octagon font cover which he obtained from some other Church. Rev. S. L. Oldacres, Mr. Matthew. and Mr. Werge paid the whole cost, about £100, in equal shares.

After an interval of 18 years Rev. S. L. Oldacres carried out some further repairs costing about £120. The remainder of the Church was re-seated, the Chancel ceiling re-coloured, the white-wash scraped from the walls of the Chancel and Nave, and the woodwork stained and varnished. The Bishop of Lincoln was invited to preach the opening sermon, and the cost was defrayed by a collection in Church of £30 18s. 9½d., and by subscriptions, the chief of which were Rev. S. L. Oldacres, £20; Miss Matthews, Lambley House, £10; J. B. Taylor, Esqre., £10; Messrs. Bainsor and Potts, Churchwardens, each £5; T. Huskinson, Esqre., £5; and M. Parkyns, Esqre., £5. Other repairs were done at odd times, so that at the death of the Rev. S. L. Oldacres, in 1876, the Church was fairly warm and comfortable.

In Mr. Oldacres time Miss Matthews, of Lambley House, the Lay-Rector, in consequence of a presentment made by the Church-wardens to the Bishop of Lincoln, removed the old stained glass and put in the present Cathedral glass. The East window was about half full of bits of the original stained glass, which were constantly falling out owing to the decay of the lead. Only the six winged seraph and the bits in the tracery of the N.W. and S.E. Chancel windows were left, the remainder being put in sacks and carried away by Mr. Thomas Blatherwick, of Blidworth, who was one of Miss Matthews' trustees. No one knows what was done with it, but the loss of this 14th century glass, however caleido-scopic, is deeply to be regretted.

The clock was put up partly by subscriptions and partly by Church Rates, about 1856, by Messrs. Cope, of Radford, Notts.

In 1875 the present organ, built by Messrs. Brinley and Foster, was purchased and put in the North side of the Chancel, chiefly by the exertions of the Honourable Mrs. Mansfield Parkyns. The cost was defrayed by a collection in Church at the opening, £25 14s. 4d. and by subscriptions of which the chief were Mr. Mansfield Parkyns £20 and Rev. S. L. Oldacres £10.

In 1886 the Second Bell, which had been cracked for many years, was re-cast and the other bells re-hung by Messrs. Taylor, of Loughborough. The cost was defrayed by General Percy Smith, R.E., on the occasion of his marriage with Miss Ethel Parkyns. At the same time the Gallery in the Tower was taken down and all the internal masonry of the Tower repaired by the order of the Vicar, Rev. F. G. Slight. The cost was defrayed by subscriptions. These repairs may be distinguished by the black lines ruled on the joints of the masonry. Mr. Slight also ordered Messrs. Naylor and Sale, of Derby, to prepare plans for a complete Restoration, and a Bazaar held at Nottingham raised £100.

The Rev. Walter E. Buckland became Vicar in 1891. The Church was then in a very bad state; the rain flowed freely through the roof and soaked away under the seats; the walls and floor reeked with damp; plaster dropped from the ceilings and walls, and ivy, nettles and grass grew in the joints of the masonry. The Bishop described it as "one of the Churches in the Diocese which most needed Restoration," and as "one of the ruins of Southwell." A Committee was at once formed and, Messrs. Naylor and Sale having completed their plans and specifications, an appeal was made for £2,000. Sir Charles Seely, Bart., as Lay-Rector, gave £600 for the Chancel, the Bishop, the Vicar, the Rector of Southwell, Mr. Mansfield Parkyns and Mr. Roby Thorpe each £60. By the end of June £1,200 had been promised and a contract for a portion of the work was entered into with Messrs. J. M. Thompson and Sons, of Louth, and work began on August 31st, 1891.

In the Chancel the blue Bangor slates and the blue rush-and-plaster ceiling were removed; a boarded oak ceiling with the original ribs and new carved bosses was placed under the waggon- beams, and the rafters were covered with deal boards, felt and green West-moreland slates. The coping stones were reset and the broken Crucifix on the East Gable was recarved together with the broken gurgoyles. The external masonry and buttresses were carefully repaired, gutters and downpipes fixed and drains laid. Internally the walls and windows were cleaned and pointed; the floor was taken up and repaved with new stones, the levels being lowered in the Sanctuary and raised between the Choir stalls. The old twisted oak railings were removed and brass ones substituted and the deal Pews were taken away and oak Choir stalls inserted. The Choir stalls were designed and carved by Mr. Mansfield Parkyns at the Hall, assisted by Mr. Richard Ward and another joiner. Mr. Parkyns did most of the carving himself and gave the whole as a memorial to his wife, having worked for two years at them and the Tower screen. He died after a few days illness shortly after their completion. The organ was removed to the West end and a new oak Altar with hangings and a red frontal and super-frontal was provided. The inscribed slabs and brasses were reset as near as possible to their original positions, and the broken parts of the Chancel Arch were repaired.

In the Nave the roofs were similarly treated, except that the oak boards were placed above the rafters. Many of the rafters were renewed in the Nave roof, and entirely new timbers were put in the aisles. The flat rush-and-plaster ceiling was removed and the plaster hacked off the aisle walls which were then refaced. Decorated tracery was put in the aisle windows, which had none, and the Norman door was blocked with stone instead of bricks and carefully reset, the perished portions being renewed. The floor was lowered six inches and was then laid with concrete, on which were laid wood blocks and the best of the old stone flags from the Chancel. An oak screen was put in the Tower and the organ placed on a loft; stone seats were put round the walls; the deal pews were all removed and chairs were substituted; the oak pulpit and sounding board were removed, and a new oak pulpit, designed by Mr. Parkyns, was erected on a new stone base. New glazing was put in the windows. A heating chamber was built by the tower and hot water pipes put all round the Church. In addition to this a Brass Altar Cross, Candles and vases, a brass Font Ewer, an oak Eagle Lectern, a large Bible and various Altar linen were given as special gifts. New Lamps by Messrs. Singer, of Frome, were put in the Nave and Chancel. The total cost of this work was, Nave £1,075 16s., Chancel £619 3s. 8d., and the special gifts were valued at £200. The Church was re-opened by the Bishop of the Diocese at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 25th, 1893, being Lady Day, and Special Services were held on the following Sunday, at which sermons were preached by the Rural Dean, Rev. A. M. Meugens, and the Rector of Southwell, Canon Trebeck.

Thus far no debt had been incurred but the funds were quite exhausted. Some trivial matters were done in 1894 and 1895, and in 1896 a fresh Committee was formed and a further appeal was made for £500 to re-build the upper parts of the Tower and Porch and recast the Tenor Bell. Subscriptions amounting to £300 were promised and a Bazaar at Woodborough Hall cleared £200. The work was put in the hands of Messrs. Evans and Sons, Architects, of Nottingham, and a contract was entered into with Messrs. Haslam and Carnill, Builders, of Lowdham, who began work on July 14th, 1896. The Tower was pulled down to the level of the ridge of the Nave roof and then rebuilt, the whole of the stone of the Windows, Battlements, and Pinnacles being renewed to correspond exactly with the old. The Porch also was carefully repaired and a swing door inserted in the middle.


According to Thoroton's Notts. and the Torre MSS, there was much heraldry in Woodborough Church, which can be seen in the plates in Throsby.

STRELLEY OF STRELLEY.—PaIy of six Argent and Azure. "Upon the top of the outside of the Chancel in the stone and in the windows." [T. Notts.]

STRELLEY OF WOODBOROUGH, —Paly of six Argent and Azure with a great cinquefoil Gules. "Upon the top of the outside of the Chancel in the stone and in the windows."

MONTENEY.—"In the North of the Chancel Gules, a bend between six martlets or." [T. Notts. Plate ii, 53.]

RERESBY.—"In the Chancel in a North window. Gules, on a bend argent, 3 crosslets flory sable." [T. Notts. Plate iii, 147.]

EVERINGHAM.—"In the North of the Chancel. Gules, a lion rampant varry file three labels or." [T. Notts. Plate iii, 133.]

WOOD.—"In the North of the Chancel. Gules, a fesse countercompony or and azure, between six cross-crosletts argent." [T. Notts. Plate iii, 149.]

CRUMBWELL—Argent, a chief gule and a bendlett azure, [T. Notts. Plate iii, 28.]

MONTAGUE.—"Painted on Church walls, Wood impaling Montague." 
[T. Notts. Plate iii, 151.]

SHIRLEY.—On the South side of the Chancel. "Paley of six: argent and azure: a canton gules." [T. Notts. Plate ii, 83.]

UNKNOWN.—"In the South side of the Chancel. Quarterly sable and argent."
[T. Notts. Plate iii, 148. Torr MSS.]

UNKNOWN.—"In the South side of the Chancel. Gules; a cross Flore argent."
[T. Notts. Torre MS.]


(Except Strelley, given above.)

RAPH DE WODEBURG.—[T. Notts. Plate iii, 146.] The arms are apparently not known; but the seal was, "A barulette, a stag's head embossed."


LACOCK.—[T. Notts. Plate iv, 106.] Argent: a dexter gauntlet sable garnished or. 

PARKYNS.—Argent, an eagle displayed sable; in a canton or, a fess dancette between 10 billets ermines.


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