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Church Micro 5007...Whitwell

A cache by angellica Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 01/13/2014
1.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

St Lawrence

Welcome to the Church micro placed near Whitwell's St Lawrence church

There was a church in Whitwell before the present Parish Church. Domesday Book tells us that an earlier church served both Barlborough and Whitwell. The site of that building is open to conjecture for no documentary evidence, giving an exact position, has yet been revealed.

The present church was begun in the 12th century, a few years after Steetley Chapel; the nave, tower, west door and chancel arch of that building remain, whereas the side aisles have been rebuilt with the addition of north and south transepts, while the present chancel replaces the original apsidal (rounded) sanctuary.

The nave retains its Norman simplicity, with rounded arches supported on plain capitals and clerestory windows above. A piece of stone protrudes from the west wall of the north aisle, about 18 inches above ground level - this is all that remains of the stone seat around the perimeter of the nave which was used by the old and infirm, the weak and the sick.

The square tower originally had no buttresses and contains many fine Norman features, including the tower arch and the west doorway with its chevron-pattern, ornamented door surround. The tower was buttressed in 1931. The upper story of the tower and bell chamber were 14th century perpendicular additions and are distinctly visible on the exterior, consisting of the section above the parish clock. 'Synthetic' chimes provide a substitute for the three traditional bells in the tower - one has no inscription; the second is inscribed 'WIL ROWBOTHAM and B STARKEY, Churchwardens'; the third 'GLORIA IN EXCELSIS'.

The parish clock is a much used feature of the church and was commissioned on 27th October 1890, at a cost of £110; in charge of the project were S. Guirdham, Samuel Thompson and T. Rotherham. The clock face was repainted in 1957 at a cost of £10.

The great chancel arch is a fine example of Norman architecture, which was restored to its original splendour, when the rood screen was removed. Nearby, at the top of the pillar are the remains of the stone stairway, which formerly gave access to the old rood loft.

A Norman window, visible only from the outside, was revealed on the south side of the chancel, when rendering was removed in 1966. The chancel roof was raised in 1950 and, in 1960, the altar reredos was lowered to give an uninterrupted view of the East Window.

As previously mentioned, the original sanctuary was apsidal until the rebuilding of the 14th century. On the north side of the sanctuary, a door leads to the 'Sacrament Chapel', incorporated in the 14th century and now used as a Priest's Vestry – the 'Reserved Sacrament' is now kept in the Lady Chapel. On the south side of the sanctuary is a 14th century piscina, where the communion vessels were cleaned, and two sedilia or canopied seats finely carved in stone.

The font is probably older than the church and, being of Saxon or Norman origin, may have been transferred from the original church. The pulpit is an example of fine, hand carving in oak by local joiner Jacob J. Sapsford in 1898. Close examination fails to detect any joint in the timbers, which were seasoned for three years in the farmhouse kitchen. Commenting on his finished pulpit, Jacob said, 'only fire or water can destroy that'.

On the west wall of the north transept is the tomb of Sir Roger Manners, who died in 1623; he was the son of Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall. To the right of the tomb, on the north wall, is an ‘ogee’ shaped recess, which possibly was the tomb of the donors of the transept. The windows on the east wall of the north transept contain fragments of 16th century glass, which had been used originally in a heraldic display. They are referred to as the 'Monkey Windows', because monkey-like creatures are incorporated in the design, which is 14th century Decorative style.

Outside the building on the south wall is a sundial and on the left-hand pillar of the porch are the markings of a dial without the metal indicator, said to be a Mass dial for telling times of services before the days of clocks and watches.

As with all buildings, which have to withstand the ravages of time and weather, occasional restoration is a necessity. We have already noted the 14th century extensions, which were followed by the lowering of the high pitched roof in the 16th century.

The 1885 restoration by the celebrated architect J.L. Pearson, RA besides attending to the releading of the roof and outside drainage, included work on the tower, nave, side aisles and transepts. The old family pews were also replaced by open benches of pitch pine in the nave and by chairs in the transepts: a change not welcomed by all churchgoers at the time. One story tells of a feeble old lady entering an unoccupied family stall to say her prayers - there being no seats for ordinary people; unfortunately the stall-owner's wife arrived to find her there and thrashed the old lady out of the stall with her umbrella.

During the 1969 restoration, two vaults were accidentally opened under the chancel floor, which contained the mortal remains of William Clayton, who died in 1666, and members of his family, including his daughter Mary, wife of Richard Bacon of Sheffield. The vaults were resealed and left undisturbed: two brasses from the graves are exhibited on the north wall of the chancel.

For full information on how you can expand the Church Micro series by sadexploration please read the Place your own Church Micro page before you contact him at

See also the Church Micro Statistics and Home pages for further information about the series.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Fvta. Cyrnfr ercynpr pnershyyl.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



193 Logged Visits

Found it 177     Didn't find it 4     Write note 2     Archive 1     Temporarily Disable Listing 2     Enable Listing 1     Publish Listing 1     Needs Maintenance 2     Owner Maintenance 2     Post Reviewer Note 1     

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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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