The font is contemporary with the south aisle. Its chief decorative feature is a somewhat unusual band of quatrefoils, one on each face of the octagonal bowl. Its patched and built-up appearance would lead one to suppose that it suffered considerable damage when the spire fell, in 1672.

A few detached fragments of painted glass in the easternmost window of the north aisle are the only remnants of the once glorious 14th century windows, while the 15th century rood screen, or such portions of it as survived the Reformation, have been used up in the organ screen in the north aisle, and in the reredos in the chancel.

The removal of the screen has revealed the fact that the chancel arch is 12in. out of the centre. Probably this was done to make the respond on the north side large enough to contain the staircase which led to the rood-loft.

The chancel is, for the most part, modern work upon an ancient foundation. It contains an aumbry in the north wall, and the remnant of a piscina upon a bracket in the south-east corner. As there is no indication of a piscina niche in the south wall, it is probable that this interesting relic formed a part of the furniture of the church from the 12th century until the Reformation. It has a square-sided basin, supported on a dwarf pillar formed with four attached shafts having “water-mould” bases, which give a clear indication of date. The damaged portions of the piscina have been carefully restored in wood by Mr. William Stevenson.

This piscina illustrates a step in development from a plain dished water drain in the floor to a table piscina recessed in the wall.

Front view.

End view.

Back view.

The traditional "Standard Measure of the Forest".

Another fragment of the old church-a piece of worked stone which formerly stood in the chancel wall, near to the priest's doorway-has attracted much attention. Until quite recently it was held to be the standard measure of the forest, which “was marked & graven in the Chancel Wall at Edenstoue, and in the Church of St. Mary at Nottingham, & at Newstede.” Thoroton incidentally refers to it in connection with the measurement of the wastes of the forest (under Sulwell, page 247).

The stone in question (15in. long, 11in. wide, 5in. thick) has been taken out of the wall for inspection, and it is now quite clear that it is either the impost of the chancel arch, or a portion of a string-course enriched with the “nail-head” ornament on the front, and having a 4in. attached shaft moulding worked on the angle behind.

For the better preservation of the relic it has been re-set in the inner wall, at the west end of the north aisle, but as it is obviously a structural stone out of the 12th century church, it can have no connection with the long-lost standard of lineal measure, which was “graven” (not built), in the church wall in the time of Edward I.

The standard measure as used in the forest is given by Mr. Robert White, thus:—

3 barleycorns


1 inch2

18 inches


1 foot

30 feet


1 perch

40 x 4 perches


1 acre

By a coincidence, each of the elongated “nail-heads” on the stone is equal in width to a “barleycorn;” but if the intention was to represent barleycorns, they surely would have been laid lengthwise and not upright.

Externally, the church presents an imposing array of embattled parapets, dominated by a steeple, “which forms a conspicuous landmark for miles around.”

At first sight the spire appears to be contemporary with the tower, but on closer inspection it will be seen that the tower is the work of the 12th century, while the spire is at least three centuries later, and appears to have been added when the north aisle was re-constructed, late in the 15th century.

The lowest stage of the massive tower (1911. by 18ft. inside measure, walls 3ft. thick) is lighted on the south and west by graceful lancets ;the one, lofty and narrow, in the western face is treated in an unusual manner by the introduction of a transom, which divides it almost equally in height. This window, with its wide internal splays, forms a very effective feature when seen from the east end enclosed within the lines of the spacious pointed arch of the tower.

The ill-fitting insertion of double lights in the belfry stage was probably introduced late in the 13th century, when the openings in the upper stage were stoned up in order to facilitate the fixing of larger bells, and thus formed into blind arcades of three obtusely-pointed bays within an enclosing semi-arch.

The peculiar arrangement of square pinnacles set upon the broaches, and the dormer lights on each cardinal face of the spire may well be mistaken for Early English work when seen from below, but a scrutiny at close quarters will yield convincing proof that the work belongs to a much later period.

The upper portion of the spire has been re-built more than once. It was struck by lightning and fell during a storm, circa 1672, and it was again struck by lightning about forty years ago.

The three old bells-the first and second inscribed: “Thomas Hedderley Founder • Roger Oldham C•W• 1752,” the third dated 1662—were re-cast, and absorbed in a new peal of six bells by Mears & Stainbank. Five of the new bells are quite plain; the sixth bears the following inscrip­tion:—

“These 6 bells were erected by public subscription A.D. 1889.
Rev Henry Telford Hayman. Vicar
John Thomas Bullivant
Edgar Gibbon Churchwardens
My sound it is all men to call
To serve the Lord both great and small.”

The registers, 1634-1758, have been transcribed and published,3 together with a complete list of vicars (from A.D. 1260), cantarists and wardens of the Altar of St. Mary, curates, etc., etc.

In 1093, “the day after that on which Archbishop Anselme was made his Liege man,” William Rufus gave to Robert Bloet, the newly-appointed Bishop of Lincoln, the churches of Mansfield and Orston with the chapels which are in the berewicks belonging to the said manors, “and all things which belonged to the said churches in the time of King Edward” (Thoroton, page 272). The dean and chapter transferred the patronage of Edwinstowe to the late Earl Manvers in exchange for St. Mary's, Nottingham.

There are some curious epitaphs to be seen on the headstones in the churchyard; one standing a little to the north-east of the chancel wall is deserving of notice:—

This awful Monitor to Mans Security
Richard Neil
who after having brav'd
The boisterous Billows of the Biscan Shore
The gaping Terrors of the rude Atlantic
And fulminating Wrath of haughty France
In Fights victorious
at 321 in Vital Plenitude
And the meridian of well earned Friendships
By some disastrous unforeseen Event
Yielded his Social Life
To the Minutia of his Element
in Thoresby Lake
As did the Partner of his fleeting Breath
John Birdsall
of youthful 28 but just immersed
in Joys hymenial
Anxious to meet his lov'd expecting Bride
was too arrested by the liquid Wave
alike deserving and alike belov'd
Fell two lamented Youths
Together in one unpropitious Night
the 29th June 1800 and this Earth
their mortal Parts retain.”

The story of Edwinstowe would be incomplete without a brief reference to the Hermit of Clipstone and the Chantry of St. Edwin, which once stood on the side of the old road (now disused) leading from Edwinstowe to Warsop.

There is no historical veracity regarding the date of foundation, and the most diligent research has so far failed to get beyond the official words, “founded by whom is vn­presented.”

The earliest known record is the bestowal, by King John, of the annual stipend of forty shillings-no mean sum in those days-in support of the chantry priest. From this time onward numerous bequests were bestowed until—in the reign of Edward VI.—the Royal Commissioners came, and confiscated not only the stipend which had hitherto been paid over by the Sheriff of Nottingham, but the church plate also, and everything else of value; the building, which consisted of a chapel with a “parler” or dwelling chamber under it, was allowed to fall into ruin, and eventually the very site was lost and forgotten.

In 1911, owing to the labours of the Vicar of Edwinstowe and Mr. William Stevenson, the site was identified, and some of the actual building stones were recovered. These have been formed into a cairn, and surmounted by a metal cross having a slate tablet at its foot inscribed as follows:—

“This Cross, (erected by William Arthur Sixth Duke of Portland K.G. in 1912) marks the site of a Royal Chapel, Chantry, and Hermitage, dedicated to St. Edwin, King of Northumbria, of which the few stones here collected are evidence. In 1201 King John paid the Hermit of Clipstone, who sang in St. Edwin's Chapel in the Hay of Birchwude, the annual stipend of 40s to celebrate service for his soul and those of his ancestors: similar payments by succeeding Kings are recorded to 1548: Survey maps shew the chapel here in 1610, and 1630.”

Hermits in the greenwood were not uncommon “once upon a time.” We are all more or less familiar with Eustace in his `° butt " at Papplewick, and the jovial Friar Tuck in his “cell” at Copmanhurst in Fountain Dale by Blidworth, but the Hermit of Clipstone is not so well known.

The dedication of his altar to Edwin and the propinquity of Edwinstowe, the Lings, and Hatfield suggest to me that the tragic death of the first christian king had something to do with the origin of the Hermitage, whatever it may have stood for in later times.

After tea, the return journey to Nottingham via Mansfield was commenced, the party stopping for a few minutes to inspect the site (discovered in 1912) of St. Edwyn's Chapel, in Birkland Wood. Nottingham was reached about 6.15 p.m.

(1) This stone was re-cut by William Stevenson, 1911. (2) This is equal to 1½ in. modern measure. (3) By Robert White, Worksop, in 1891. (4) “This has been altered on the stone from 32 to 29. Register gives age 30th year. Register gives “age 30th year.”