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The History Of Saint Nicholas' Church Denston


The square tower, built probably in the latter half of the 14th century, shows traces of ancient tiles round the upper window on the south; a rectangular projection to the north gives space for stairs to the bell chamber. The base of the tower has chequered flint work on the lower course. Traces of the earlier church can be seen at the south-west and also inside; and from the different window tracery of the porch it is possible that it also may be partly a survival of the earlier building. The remainder of the church is of homogeneous design in different masonry near the ground showing where the rebuilding was begun. The buttresses are of solid stone work and there is a scratch dial on the second from the cast on the south of the church. An octagonal turret at the second bay from the cast on the north side contains the newel stair to the rood-loft and to the aisle roof with entrances inside the church. The main entrance to the church is by a large south porch, in the south-east buttress of which is a holy water stoup and there are stone benches inside. These large porches were originally used for the preliminary part of the baptismal and marriage services and when Chaucer said of the Wife of Bath, "housbondes at chirclic-dore she hadde fyve," he was indicating that she had been properly married to all of them. The roof of the porch is fan-vaulted and the keystone, in the shape of a shield, unidentifiable now, was noted by Davy in 1814 as bearing the arms of Everard. a kinsman of the Denstons. The original door remains with its superimposed tracery, similar to that elsewhere in the church. The niche over the porch must have originally have contained a statue of St. Nicholas, as at Rattlesden church. There are three other small doors, two on the north, one of which is opposite the porch; the other two are opposite each other in the second bays from the cast. These small doors were for the use of the chantry priests. There is, as with most ancient churches, a more extensive graveyard to the south, for until comparatively recently burials to the north of a church were confined to the "slayers of themselves." the baptised and excommunicate.

Last Modified Thursday 05 May 2011