Nether Winchendon, St Nicholas Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Medieval stained glass and Flemish 17th century glass
There has been a church here at least as far back as the 11th century, when the manor belonged to Queen Edyth, wife of Edward the Confessor. After the Norman Conquest the manor was held by Walter Gifford, but after Walter died the estate was claimed by his sons and by the monks of nearby Notley Abbey.
The church was reduced to the status of a chapel of ease in 1182, and the estate became an abbey grange. The monks from Notley who worked the farm are thought to have lived at Langlands Cottage, which still stands within the village. In 1483 St Nicholas became a parish church in its own right.
The church we see today is early 13th century, but there are ancient stones in the lower sections of the tower which come from a Saxon building. The interior has remained remarkably unchanged since the 18th century.
In the 18th century the medieval pitched roof was replaced with a very narrow-pitched lead roof. This left the gables much higher than the new roof level. From a distance this left the church looking as if it's roof had disappeared, a victim of time and neglect. For this reason it acquired the unfortunate moniker, 'The Church with no Roof'.
By 1975 the lead roof had become unsafe and was replaced, with the new roof at the original pitch.While you are looking up at the roof, notice the clock. This was a bequest from Jane Beresford of Nether Winchendon House and was installed in 1772. The clock itself is earlier, and is one of only a half dozen early 17th century church clocks still in use throughout England.
Scratched onto the surface of a buttress on the exterior of the chancel are three mass dials. These rudimentary sundials were used to tell the time of the next service.
The nave is fulled with high-sided box pews, leading to a large triple-decker pulpit dated to 1613. At the east end of the nave are several pews painted in delicate Strawberry Hill Gothic colours - very eye-catching in an environment of darkened wood. Several of the benches incorporate panels from a 16th century wooden screen. At the west end is a musicians gallery, and on the side of the gallery is a rustic royal coat of arms. The coat of arms shows the escutcheon of Hanover, so probably dates from the late Regency or the reign of George IV.
The chancel is primarily 14th century. Look at the chancel arch; on either side there are nine small pock marks that might be a 16th century child's game. On the north side of the chancel is a striking table tomb to Lieut-Colonel Francis Tyringham Higgins-Bernard, a 20th century version of a medieval tomb, with a nicely crafted memorial brass set into the surface.
On the south wall is a Flemish panel of glass from the 17th century. During the 17th century many Flemish nobles fled to England to escape religious persecution. They would often bring stained glass with them to prove their identity (think of it as an early form of identity card). Near the window with Flemish glass is another with the arms of important local families including the Barton, Tyringham, and Chetwynd families.
About Nether Winchendon
Address: Barrack Hill, Nether Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, England, HP18 0DY
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: In the centre of the village, near the manor house. Parking on the verge.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Nether Winchendon House - 0 miles (Historic House)
Dinton, St Peter & St Paul Church - 2.2 miles (Historic Church)
Waddesdon Manor - 2.7 miles (Historic House)
Long Crendon Courthouse - 3 miles (Historic Building)
Long Crendon, St Mary's Church - 3.1 miles (Historic Church)
Hartwell, The Assumption Church - 3.7 miles (Historic Church)
Wotton House - 3.8 miles (Historic House)
Fleet Marston, St Mary's Church - 3.9 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Accommodation to Nether Winchendon:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Tel: 01844 212 833
Fax: 01844 216 094