SCLHRG visit to St Nicholas and St Peter ad Vincula, CURDWORTH

On 24th March 2022 about twenty members of the SCLHRG went on a visit to the village church in Curdworth.

We gathered at the Lych Gate and were welcomed by Sandra Bullivant who had kindly agreed to give us a brief history and guided tour of the church.  She also gave some advice on where to find some of the more interesting gravestones in the churchyard.

The church, now a Grade II listed building, was founded by the Normans  about 1160.  It was, as were all Medieval churches, Roman Catholic for several hundred years until the establishment of the Church of England in the 16th Century.

We entered the church by the south doorway, the jambs of which are heavily scored by the marks of the saws used by the medieval masons to shape the stone.

It felt cold and dank after the warm Spring sunshine.

In the front of the Tower Arch is an impressive Norman Font.  This was discovered buried beneath the Nave during the restoration of 1895 and has been returned to use. The bowl of the font depicts various religious figures carved in typical Norman style.

There were originally only a few small round headed windows to light the church.  These are set high in the walls where three survive in the chancel and only one in the Nave.  More windows have been added over the years; the last one being the Millennium window which depicts Jesus and the Four Evangelists.

On a ledge below the Millennium window is a carved stone showing a winged figure (now headless) thought to be the Angel Gabriel.  This is reputedly from the Medieval stone bridge which spans the River Tame at Water Orton.

The round headed chancel archway is unmistakeably Norman.  The arch itself is carved with typical Norman motifs - the chevron and keeled roll moulding. The sandstone archstones have been replaced in recent times but the jambs are original.

There is much to look at in this interesting little church. Within the chancel, the Norman theme continues.  Two of the windows are adorned with Medieval wall paintings. Mainly in red ochre, the style suggests a date in the late 12th century.

Finally, behind the high altar is the Ancient parish chest, 10 feet in length.  It is a primitive hollowed out oak log, roughly squared on the outside with an axe and iron-bound. It would have been the repository for books, vestments, alms and the parish register.

Making our way back out into the sunshine, we headed for the Church Hall where a couple of the parish ladies had laid on a delicious Cream Tea.

A pleasant end to a very pleasant and interesting day.

Eileen Donohoe

Thursday, 24 March 2022