When the King's great domestic tragedy was pending we find that Gamaliel Clyfton was rector, in plurality, of Wilford, Hawton, and Weston—the parish church for Willoughby. He would therefore be in close touch with the Hadfields and the Cranmers. He was selected as one of a coterie of University men who were retained by Cranmer to expound Canon Law at the trial. So well did he acquit himself that he was again retained for the divorce from Ann of Cleves.

On whichever side our sympathies may lie with regard to these momentous events it should still be to the credit of Wilford that so erudite a scholar was once its parson. Like the Gamaliel of old who stood up in the Council and pleaded for Peter and the Apostles, he was "a doctor of the law, had in reputation among the people" (Acts v. 34).

The removal of much that was beautiful and artistic in the furnishing of the church befel in the 16th century.

The position of the rood-loft which once stretched across the chancel is still indicated by the characteristic newel stairway which formed the approach thereto on the north side of the chancel, and by the transom of the window on the south side.

The loft and its adornments have gone beyond recall, but the chancel screen which supported it has recently been replaced and set up as a memorial. This new screen is modelled on the mediaeval pattern; indeed two of the old panels from the band of Gothic tracery beneath the fenestration cill and one panel head of blind tracery are incorporated in the new work. These remnants were discovered in a made-up reading desk, with lingering traces of colour and gilding still upon them.

Not content with the destruction wrought by the Reformer and the Puritan, an 18th century Incumbent essayed to give a Georgian aspect to the church. We are told that "he beautified the chancel in his lifetime," and left behind him "a sum wherewith to beautify the church answerable to the chancel."

The chancel walls were accordingly "dressed down," the projecting mouldings on image brackets, sedilia and monuments were cut away to make room for deal wainscotting—smug and square.

The beautification of the nave was not carried out on the same drastic lines, but the walls internally and externally were stuccoed and whitewashed, so that the piscina niche in the south aisle, and the image niche on the south porch became lost to view.

A gallery for musicians was set up at the west end, and the Royal Arms took the place of the rood. A "talk" said to have taken place between Archbishop Cranmer and Doctor Martin, March, 1556, contains these words:—"Downe with the Sacrement, Downe with the Masse; downe with the aultars; downe with the arms of Christe and up with a lyon and a dog."

It is probable that the present deal framed roof over the chancel belongs to this same period, and this, together with a portion of the three-decker pulpit, the font cover, and the George I. frame of arms (now in the tower) are survivals of this outburst of Georgian zeal.

When we look at the exterior of the church, the excellence of the masonry of the chancel, no less than the design of it, will appeal to us.

Three scratch dials of a later date should be noticed on the central buttress; but I cannot find any mason-marks on the walls either within or without, save where the choir boys sit, and I should not like to base any theory upon these.

Thirty years ago all the internal walls and the pier arcades were covered with coat after coat of whitewash. No wonder if in the process of removal the stonework has lost its character and all identification marks have disappeared. This appears equally applicable to the octagonal font. In spite of its very modern look there are indications which lead me to think it is the original I4th century font, re-dressed. An even worse treatment was meted out to the holy-water stoup, for it was thrown on to a grotto in the rectory garden, where it lay until it was rescued this year by the Rector, with a view to its replacement in the church porch.

The elm trees which line the approach from the south were planted in 1690. The parsonage house and the picturesque range of brick outbuildings were built by the Rev. Benjamin Carter, who was rector 1694-1732 The outbuildings are very interesting; they comprise a large tythe barn, a small but very complete dovecote and a mounting block—not for the parson's use only, but the "jossing post" when the "quality" rode pillion-wise to the church.

The octagonal summer house, or "oratory," in the north west angle of the churchyard, which not so long ago was said to "give a cool and pleasant look out towards Nottingham over the Trent and Meadows" is a characteristic feature of that age. Being in a graveyard it looks out of place, but when it was erected in 1757— the date borne on the weather vane which adorned its summit—the cemetery did not extend so far, as we may learn from dates on the headstones.

The lower storey, on a level with the river, is still referred to as the "mortuary." It had been an age-long custom in this country for the Coroner's quest to be held in the porch of a parish church. With a ferry, a difficult ford near by, and a far more dangerous ford a little higher up-stream, Coroner's quests must have been frequent at Wilford, and probably a mortuary became a necessity. For instance, it is still talked about in the village, that on the 30th July, 1784, the ferry-boat capsized, eleven men and women were thrown into the swollen river and six of them were drowned.

The Communion plate was presented by the Rev. Benjamin Carpenter, in 1717; when he died, 23rd December, 1732, he was buried within the chancel, where several of his successors also lie—but their memorial stones are not to be relied upon for position owing to structural alterations.

Leonard Curtoys, whose grave is by the south end of the altar, was a member of the Nottingham Presbytery during the Commonwealth, and parson here for thirty-three years (died 1685).

A large sarcophagus with a black marble ledger in the churchyard beneath the east window is inscribed:—

"+ In memory of Thomas Wybert, Gent, who was for many years gentlem. to Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal of England ob. 7 Dec. 1735 AEt. 65." Requiescat in Pace.

In addition to the parsonage and its outbuildings, Wilford contains several good specimens of domestic architecture of the Georgian era. A farm house with date 1724 worked in the gable; two houses "the Elms" and "the Hawthorns" facing the green built by the famous John Dean, who died in 1761, and whose grave in the churchyard surrounded by a wrought iron railing is still an object of curiosity; Wilford House, built by Samuel Stretton in 1781, and a house near by the ford, now designated the Manor House.

The ancient manor house of the Wilfords was on the south side of the upper green, where in my boyhood some interesting remnants of old work were still to be seen.