Bunny altered greatly during the years when Mr. Harrison was Vicar. Many evacuees came during the war years, from London and Sheffield chiefly. There was a mixed population in all the new houses on both estates, and much diplomacy was needed to deal with the old and the new. Mrs. Harrison was a fine pianist, therefore a great help to the parish.

The Rev. W. R. Hughes was presented with the living in 1946, but only stayed for the space of eighteen months. His wife was ill nearly all the time at Bunny—so he was reluctantly compelled to resign the living, and take one of five offered to him in Somerset.

By his earnest and conscientous work he earned much respect from the parishioners, and was a fluent and good preacher. Mrs. Hughes worked hard for the Mothers' Union and for the sales which she organised for the church and charities.

The Y.P.G. was started again, and many young people attended on Sunday afernoons. Mr. Hughes made improvements at the vicarage. He visited the parishioners regularly.

The vicarage was thrown open for meetings, and classes held for the welfare of the village.

The Rev. W. N. Metcalfe was presented with the living by Lady Ball in 1947, when he began to tackle the problems of a growing parish.

The spire has been repaired, after the six bells were taken down in April, 1955, to be repaired. There is no date on the oldest bell, probably 1590.

His enterprising spirit has done a great deal for the young people, for he possesses the outlook of youth which is most necessary in this work, and also is a gifted and fluent speaker.

He throws the vicarage open for meetings of the Mothers' Union, the Y.P.G. and the P.C.C., and takes great interest in the work of the choir. Also, much needed repairs have been done.

The Church

We cannot dip into the history of Bunny without noting many interesting features of the Parish Church, the centre of life. It stands in the middle of the old part of the village. Its steeple is a landmark in the valley of Bunny. There was a church and priest at Bunny recorded in the Domesday Book, which clearly points to this present church being there before 1354, also there is a list of Rectors recorded from 1228. It has, indeed, a long and interesting history. There is not enough space to talk of the many notable names in connection with it, but some of them crop up.

It is a large and handsome church, and points to the population being much greater in these early years.

The registers date from 1556. We read in Thoroton that in the first five years of the register that 95 were baptized, and 85 buried. The first register dates from 1556—1723. Second 1723—1802. Third Register 1802—1812. Unfortunately the middle register has been lost.

Going back to the description of the church—

It is often referred to as the Cathedral of the Wolds.

The chancel is unique in regard to its length, only about three feet shorter than the nave.

The church contains examples of both decorated and perpendicular architecture. We read that the decorated period, sometimes called Gothic, dates from about 1275—1375, the Perpendicular 1377—1547 approximately.

The south wall of the chancel had four pointed windows, but the westernmost has been walled up. There was a small doorway, cut under this window, but it is now built up again. The small doorway was closed in 1912. The people from The Hall used to enter by this doorway.

A stained glass window was put in at the east end of the south chancel wall in 1912 in memory of the lady of the Manor, Mrs. Wilkinson Smith.

Two square headed windows have been opened out at the east end of the north wall, 13 th century. The east window is square headed, and of five lights.

It is thought that the roof of the chancel was considerably lowered in 1725, and the tracery of this east window removed. The ancient nook shafts still remain.

There is an excellent double piscina, with good mouldings, that point out they must have been cut before the Black Death in 1349. The three graded sedilia with handsome ogee arches are of the same period. There is a square aumbrey on the east of the vestry door. The arch has been covered over. This vestry with its east and west window was used as a Chapel at one time. There is a plain piscina in this.

The nave and arches show decorated and perpendicular styles of architecture. They are separated to the north and south by an arcade of ten bays. You can see a hoodmould at the base of the north pillars, Norman, which acted as a drain. There are none on the south side pillars. The first three pillars from east to west are circular, and the fourth octagonal. The respond is semi-octagonal and to the south circular. There are octagonal caps and bases. The capital nearest the chancel is carved, but crude work, probably that of a local mason.

There are four square headed two light clerestory windows with ogee heads. The roof is an old perpendicular one. The date 1718 is to be seen on one of the beams, and the initials of the church wardens, J.P., John Peate, W.T., William Turpin, as before mentioned.

This date, 1718, was when the church was repaired.

In the very early ages churches were built with steep pitched roofs. These were taken down, and the wood used to form a low pitched roof, which was often carried up on a clerestory to give height. This was an alteration carried out in the 15th century.

We see this alteration has been carried out in Bunny, a low pitched roof, and clerestory windows. There are two pointed windows of three lights in the south aisle east of the door, and one west of the door, and a west window nearly square headed in this aisle.

The stone mullions of these windows of the decorated period have been removed, and replaced by brick. An arched recess west of the doorway may at one lime have contained an effigy. There is a modern font at the end of this aisle, and a coat of arms of George III, 1803, over the doorway.

An Act of Charles II made it compulsory to have the Royal coat of arms in churches. They were frequent in churches before the Reformation but many were destroyed in that period.

There is a plain piscina at the east end on the south wall in the south aisle, showing that this part was used as a chapel at one time.

There are three windows on the north wall of three lights each, and these mullions are brick, like those of the south aisle, covered over with plaster. These brick mullions are entirely out of character with the moulded arch and jambs with which they are fixed.

The stained glass window at the east end of this north aisle was placed in 1903 in memory of the Rev. Alfred Cory Kingdon, who was Vicar here for 25 years, and did much good work in the parish.

There is an ancient font at the west end of the north aisle, said to be of the 11th century. It was dug out of a field in Bunny Moors about 1916 and had been used as a drinking trough for cattle. This old font is used for baptisms.

One historian relates that in 1886 " the font at the west end consisted of a slender marble shaft, supporting a shallow basin." This font was presented lo a London church by the Vicar at that time, so Bunny Church had three fonts.

There is an old slate sun dial in the belfry, dated 1791, of Swithland slate.

The brass ewer was given by the Young People's Guild in the Rev. F. J. Kahn's time; the lid is to the memory of Susan Garner, a child of the village.

The Mothers' Union banner is in memory of Mrs. Cordeux. The plaque on the South Wall was put there by her daughters. The main gates were subscribed for by the village, to her memory also.

Mrs. Ball gave the flag of St. George in memory of her husband; Mrs. Newbound the light on the pulpit and lectern, and the lamp in the South Porch in memory of Mrs. Marsh.

The south porch is of the 15th century, 1425 perpendicular. It is barrel vaulted and has two windows east and west. Over the doorway there is a niche which probably contained an image of the Virgin Mary, to whom the church is dedicated.

The parapet is a good feature of the church—it is not so worn on the north side as the south.

Interior of Bunny church.
Interior of Bunny church.

Returning to the porch, we read that these large porches were used for a small assembly of the village, in which to discuss local affairs. There is a thoroughfare from east to west, common to many churchyards. The parisioners could enter the church for prayers.

It is thought that there was a statue of St. Christopher at the north door. This door was regarded years ago in a sinister light.

The screen is of oak of the 14th century, according to memorials of old Notts., and is greatly mutilated. The five openings have ogee heads. The foliage is of lithic character.

The archway into the tower is fine and lofty. The tower and spire are of the decorated period of the 13th century.

It is supported by two rectangular buttresses. A staircase is built into the south-west one. There are pointed windows in the tower, showing tracery.

The parapet has been embattled, but many of the battlements are broken, and there are pinnacles with crockets at each corner. The spire was repaired in 1951. It is octagonal, edged with crockets.

The four-faced clock of Cambridge chimes was fixed in 1897 in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The clock was subscribed for by the villagers. There was more money than needed for a party, so the Vicar, the Rev. H. Cooper, decided to spend it on providing a clock, and it has been very useful to the parishioners.

There are six bells, two of which were given by Sir Thomas Parkyns the wrestler.

Years ago they were rung by ropes attached, but the Rev. H. Cooper thought it was better to have them rung by one man, turning a handle—so the arrangement for this purpose was built at considerable expense. The Vicar and the Church Council would now like them to be rung in the old way, by means of ropes, and they have decided to do this. This work is now in operation.

The sixth bell, dated 1599, has this inscription, and two portraits: "God save the Church, our Queen and Realme and send us peace in Christ. Amen."

First bell bears the date 1629. "A sweetly toling, men do call to taste on meat that feeds the soule." Second bell: "Dedit Nos Contare Domino Novem Canticum, 1702."

There is an eagle displayed on a canton a fesse dancette between seven billets for Parkyns, impaling a windmill, Sampson. Third bell: Thomas Parkyns Secvndvs Baronettvs Anno Domino, 1702. The same arms as No. 2. Fifth bell: Publica Sors Pons Westmonasterjensis Pietas Thomas Parkyns Bar : Loqut Dedit Ora Rotunda A.D. 1740."—T.E.

Fourth bell: "Sec Campana Sacra fiat Beate Trinitate." In April, 1955, the six bells were taken down and sent to Loughborough to be tuned and the large bell to be repaired.

There is no date on the Fourth bell. It may be about 1590.

In the south aisle at the east end we find the most ancient monument (1571) showing arms with many quarterings. The inscription is obliterated. This was as follows, as seen in Thoroton:


"Here lies Humfrey Barley, son and heir of Thomas Barley of Stoke, Esquire, and Dorothy Meverell, wife of the said Thomas, which Thomas was son and heir of George Barley, of Stoke, and Alice (it must be Joan) his wife, one of the daughters and heirs of Richard Illingworth Esq.

"This Humfrey was thereby one of the Lords of the Manor of Boney, and divers other lands in the counties of Notts, and Derby, and took to wife Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Aden Beresford of Fenny Bentley, in the county of Derby, by whom he had Ursula his daughter and heir. The said Humfrey died the 10th of July, 12 Eliz., and was buried at his Chappell in his own Ile, in Stony Middleton in Derbyshire. And this Momument erected by the said Elizabeth, now wife of Richard Parkyns Esq. for a remembrance in perpetuity of the said Humfrey and his progeny."

The most famous monument in the church is that of Sir Thomas Parkyns, the famous wrestler, the inscription on which reads:

Sir Thomas Parkyns monument in Bunny church.
Sir Thomas Parkyns monument in Bunny church.

"Here lieth S. Thomas Parkyns, Bar., one of his Majes Justices of y' Peace (the quorum) and Deputie Lieutenant, both for y' counties of Nottingham & Leicester, second son of Sir Thomas Parkyns, Bar., and Anne y' sole daughter and heiress of Tho. Cressey of Berkin in y' countie of York Esq., whose ancestors came in with William y' Norman y' said Sr. Tho. Parkyns married Elizabeth y' grand daughter & heiress of John Sampson Esq., Alderman & citizen of London, with whom he had y' fee farm rent of 274/02s. 081/2d. per annu paid out of y' mannor borough and Bank of Beverley & y' water y' water towns and appurtenances in that county also y' fee farm rent of 43 £ 16s. 041/4 issuing out of y' mannor and Castle of Bolsover in y' county of Derby, y' copies of y' deeds of purchase are enrolled in Chancery & in money about 3,500£, was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, and in Graye's Inns of Court 8 years; who purchased y' whole tythe of Bradmore & part of Keyworth formerly y' Duke of Rutland's. Also a rent of 20 marks per annu payable outof y' tythe of Bunney. Also y' Mannor & estate in Ruddington of Sir Tho. Winford, Bar. Also y' Mannor & estate in Est Leake with y' Mannors and Count Leets of Cortlingstock, Wysall, Thorpe & Willoughby of y' Armstrongs with other estates in Barrow super Soar, Gotham & ye towns before mentioned. He new roofed this chancel, built y' vault & erected this momument; gave y' two treble bells to y' church. Built y' Schoolhouse & Hospital which y' Lady Anne endowed with 16£ per annu. He gave to y' poor widows and widowers of Bunney and Bradmore 5/4s yearly in bread to be distributed every Sunday in Bunney church. He built y' Mannor houses in Bunney & East Leake. He built y' Vicarage house & most of the farm houses in Bunney and Bradmore. He studied Physick both Gallenick & Paraceloick for y' benefit of his neighbours; had a competent knowledge of most part of the Mathematics, especially Architecture & Hydraulicks, & contriving & drawing all his planns without an architect. He wrote the IIPOPYMNAEMATA or Cornish Hugg Wrestler, and was buried March the 25th, 1741, aged 78 years. He had two sons by y' said Elizabeth his wife (viz., The, who was buried September 21st Anno 1706, aged 19 years & Sampson who was buried April y' 17th 1713, aged 27 years, who had two sons and two daughters by Alice his wife (viz.) Tho. who died an infant, Tho. Anne and Harriat; his sister Anne Parkyns spinster gave 20d. for y' putting forth poor boys apprentices in y' towns of Bunney, Bradmore and Cortlingstock, was buried Aug. 8th anno 1711, aged 39 years.

" The above Sr Thomas Parkyns in 1727 married a second wife, Jane, eldest daughter of Mr. George Barnard, one of the Aldermen of the City of York, by whom he had two sons and one daughter; Thomas the present Baronet, and George and Ann now living. She departed this life August 27 in the year of Our Lord 1740, and the 33rd year of her age."

It is now on the north wall at the western end of the nave. It was formerly in the chancel at the east: end on the north wall but it was moved in 1912 at the restoration of the chancel. It is large and remarkable, designed by himself.

It depicts Sir Thomas in a life-size wrestling attitude in one compartment. Time is in the attitude of a mower with Sir Thomas stretched at his feet. The shield of arms is Parkyns and Cressy. The crest is pine apple. Stone pine apples are on the posts of the gateway at the east end of Bunney Park, which at one time was one of the main entrances. " Honest Audax."

As mentioned before, the statue of Sir Thomas Parkyns was removed from the chancel in 1912. This removal was resented by many people in the village, because Sir Thomas was such a benefactor to the inhabitants, and is a benefactor to the present day. If you wish to read a comment on the removal of this monument, see "Highways and Byways of Notts.," by Firth.

The old pews were taken out of the church, and chairs substituted about 1887. The gallery in the west end was removed, also the fireplace and chimney in the hall pew.

The young lads of this period, we are told, liked the high pews because they could sit down low and they were almost out of sight of the adults.

The monuments in the chancel are interesting. There is one on the north wall bearing effigies of a lady and gentleman, with their four sons and four daughters. This memorial is to Richard Parkyns, his wife, and eight children.

Richard Parkyns was the first Parkyns to own Bunny, through his wife, who was the widow of Humfrey Barlow— Barley, as it was spelt at that time.

The inscription on this tomb is as follows:

"Heare lyeth Richard Parkyns Esquier, Justice of Peace and Quorn in the countie of Nottingham, and Recorder of the Townes of Leicester and Notts, and an aneyst utter barrister in the Inner Temple, who married and tooke to wief Elizabeth Barlowe, then a wydowe, late wief of one Humfrey Barlowe of Stoke in the countie of Darbie, Esquier deceased, being the eldest daughter of Aden Beresford of Ffenny Bentlye in the said countie of Darbie Esquier, deceased, by whom the said Richard had 8 children, viz. 4 sonnes and 4 daughters, that is to saie S. George Parkyns, Knight, his sonne and heire, Aryan Par., John Par., Aden Par., Ffrances Par., Anne Par. and Margaret Par., and dyed the third daie of Julie 1603, upon whose soule God have merci."

By his will, dated June, 1603, Richard Parkyns desired to be buried at Bunney, before his pew, and his widow Elizabeth's will, 8th April,  1608, desired to be buried near her husband.

There are other monuments of interest m the chancel, but the three quoted are to the fore.

On a floor stone below is: "Here lieth S. George Parkyns Knight, the son of Richard Parkyns (as y' monument above) and Mary Isham his wife, and was buried y' 22 May A.D. 1626.

There is a monument near the vestry door bearing the arms cf Parkyns, impaling Cressy showing this inscription :

"This monument is sacred to the memory of Dame Anne Parkyns Relict of the late, and mother of the now Sir Thomas Parkyns of Bunny Baronet. She came a blessing into the family at Bunny, whether we consider her birth (either as descended from the ancient family of Cressey of Berkin in Yorkshire, who came in with Will: the Norman & whose mother was grandaugh. to y' Earl of Dorset, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth from whom y' present duke proceeds) or her plentifull estate as an heiress, or the wisdom of her conduct in it. Her Principles in Religion were truly Christian deeply grounded & adorn'd with a sutable conversation. She had 3 sons, Cressey was her eldest; Thomas Luctator her second, and Beaumont her youngest; 2 daughters, Cathrine & Anne. She answer'd y' end of hei creation in being kind to her children and grandchildren, and long & often denied herself many conveniences due to her quality, fortune and years that she might se them plentifully in her lifetime. She joyned with her son Sr Thomas Parkyns to qualifie y' poor Vicarage of Bunny for y' Queen's bounty (as appears by y' stone set up in y' church wall), left a good annuity to y' school & y' the support of y' poor widds; these & tho' many good things may deservedly here be written of her, yet nothing can be said to tarnish any part of her happy character. For the sake of her family & as a reward of her piety God was pleas'd to draw out her precious life to a good & great age. She died Jan'y 11th 1725. Aged 92 years."

There is a floorstone underneath giving the date of her death again.

On a floorstone we find this inscription: "Here lieth Isham Parkyns Esq., eldest son of S. George Parkyns, Colonel and Governour of Ashby de la Zouch in y' civil wars against y' rebels in King Charles y' 1st time. By Cathrine his wife he had 4 sons and one daughter (viz.) George Richard Theophilus Thomas & Catharine. He died June y 21st 1671, aged 70. She died Feb y' 12, 1664."

There is a floor stone on which is inscribed: "Rev. W. B. Cocker, Vicar of Bunny and Ruddington, died 1823. 'In the day of judgment it will be seen what he was'."

There is a tablet to him in Ruddington Church.

It is recorded in 1802 that a recumbent marble effigy was found amongst some lumber in the church. The head, trunk, arms and legs lay all scattered about. This is told by Lt. Col. Rawson Lowe, F.S.A. (See Godfrey's " Hundred of Rushcliffe ").

A scratch dial is to be found on the second buttress of the chancel on the south wall to the east.