English Churches - Lincolnshire

St Nicholas Church, Normanton-on-Cliffe


A pleasant village church


St Nicholas Church is set in a small village in the depths of rural Lincolnshire between Newark and Sleaford and surrounded by fertile farmland.

Set in a well tended graveyard with some splendid C19th stone box graves, the church was built in the C13th although there is some earlier Norman work. The tall square tower is C14th and built of finely finished ashlar and looks rather incongruous against the rougher stone of the rest of the nave and side aisles. The nave is very tall with a clerestory added in the C15th. It has a decorated frieze round the top with a small cross at the east end. Below it on the frieze, is an angel head holding a shield. There are splendid gargoyles. The chancel is a large but lower building with a steep tiled roof with a more elaborate cross at the east end above the three Early English windows. The south porch is very plain and has C18th graffiti carved on the walls.

St Nicholas Church, Normanton-on-Cliffe

Inside the church, the nave and south aisle are separated by a round pillar with what is described as ‘Waterleaf’ capitals, typical of the C12th.

St Nicholas Church,
                Normanton-on-Cliffe

St Nicholas Church, Normanton-on-Cliffe

Above there are broad, flat round arches with dog tooth carving.

St Nicholas Church, Normanton-on-Cliffe

On the side of the arch is the only one of the twelve consecration crosses to survive.  This is a circle with four arcs forming the sides of the cross. They were carved or painted on the walls as part of the consecration ceremony to represent the twelve apostles. Few now survive.

St Nicholas Church,
                Normanton-on-Cliffe

The north aisle has an octagonal pillar with pointed arches above. The walls are plastered and there is a plain wooden roof. The chancel roof is more elaborate with ribs.

Inside the doorway is a simple stone C12th Norman font with a later wooden lid. A pointed arch leads into the tower. Above  is a painted Royal Coat of Arms of George IV. A wooden doorway gives access to the stairs to the bell chamber. On the walls of the base of the tower are wooden boards with the Ten Commandments. A slate benefaction tablet records that Captain Lewis Gwyn left £100 in 1758 which was invested in Earl Brownlow’s name and yielded £3 6s per annum which was to be given in coals to the poor of Normanton. Below is a record of a donation of £2 by an anonymous donor.

There are two rows of simple wooden pews and there is a beautifully carved medieval chest which would have been used to store church documents.  There is a small altar at the end of the north aisle. At the back is an old bier, now used for the hot water urn.

The hexagonal wooden pulpit is C17th and has a tester (sounding board) above which amplified and directed the preacher’s voice.

St Nicholas Church,
                Normanton-on-Cliffe

There is a slightly pointed chancel arch supported by stone columns. To the left is a beautiful war memorial with a painted carving of Christ on the cross with two figures. Below are names of the seven men who lost their lives in World War One. Below it is a small slate plate with four names from World War Two.

St Nicholas Church,
                Normanton-on-Cliffe

On the south wall, a slate plate records that the lighting in the church was installed by Thomas Chambers in memory of his son who was killed in action in 1940.

The oak choir stalls have carved ends. There is a decorative wrought iron communion rail with a wooden top. The crucifix and candlesticks are a modern design. There is a simple stone piscina on the south wall and a box on the north wall holding the host. This has a carving of two pelicans below the figure of Christ.

This is a very pleasant village church. It is no longer used and is now cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust. It is always open and there is some parking on the verge by the church. The post code is NG32 3BH and the grid reference SK 949463.

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