St Wilfrids Church, Scrooby

St Wilfrids Church

Graham Robbins


St Wilfrids Church Scrooby Interior by Burbank.

St Wilfrid's church is the most prominent building in Scrooby. John Leland wrote in the 1541 "In the mene town of Scroby I markid the parsche church, not bigge but very welle buildid ex lapido polite quadrato" (of well squared stone).

The church is built in magnesian limestone with a coal-measures sandstone steeple top, now sooted black. The steeple top is a replacement. The original limestone steeple top can be found in two halves in the graveyard wall to the immediate west of the north-west gate, and in the wall between the graveyard and the rectory garden. The replacement may date from 1817 or 1831 when the steeple was damaged by lightning.


St Wilfrids Church Scrooby.

The steeple is unusual in that it is octagonal on a square tower base, with the angles of the tower's upper stage chamfered. Tall crocketed pinnacles spring from the tower's crenallated parapet. There is no west door in the tower, a feature absent from several local churches (Babworth, Bothamsall, Hayton, Mattersey, Oxton, Sutton-cum-Lound, Walkeringham, and North and South Wheatley). Pevsner likens it to the church at West Retford.

Below the tower are a chancel, nave, south aisle, and south porch. The whole church is Perpendicular Gothic in style; popular between 1350 and 1530. Crenalations, or battlements, run along the tower, nave and south aisle. The square-headed windows are a typical feature of Nottinghamshire churches.

The south porch with stone roof is an unusual feature, but one of a group in Nottinghamshire (Babworth, Bunny, North Collingham, East Drayton, Hayton, West Retford, Scrooby, Strelly, Sutton-cum-Lound, and Trowell). The roof is supported by two transverse lateral ribs. Pevsner compares it to St Mary's church in Nottingham.

Inside the church the arcade, a range of arches resting on octagonal piers, is contemporary with the exterior structure. The chancel arch is now Early English Gothic in style (popular throughout the Thirteenth Century), but it was rebuilt as part of the 1864 restoration and may have changed appearance during that work. Certainly the capitals of the tower arch received new work in 1864, and the arcade of octagonal piers and responds were given roof corbels.

The church's pews were carved with early sixteenth century vine patterns. These carvings may once have been part of the rood screen between the chancel and the nave. These and the church's font were sold to America in 1891. There are still good carved bench ends in the church.


The Graveyard of St Wilfrids Church Scrooby.

The church was rebuilt from a ruinous state in 1830 and restored again in 1864. There was once a northern aisle, which has been removed and the northern wall of the nave rebuilt in a noticeable more regular style than the older surviving exterior. This work may have been done in 1830.

The graveyard is entered by the larger gate to the south-east of the church, or the smaller gate to the north-west. Traces of a blocked gate to the north of the church can be seen in the magnesian limestone and brick graveyard wall. Presumably this gate was blocked when the northern aisle was removed.


References

Cox, J C 1912 Nottinghamshire London: George Allen County Churches Series

Pevsner, N 1951 Nottinghamshire Harmondsworth: Penguin The Buildings of England Series