The Church.

All Hallows Church, Ordsall (photo: A Nicholson, 2008).
All Hallows Church, Ordsall (photo: A Nicholson, 2008).

THERE is no mention in the Doomsday Book of a Church at Ordsall. In the county the total number of Churches recorded in the Survey of 1085 is 84, and it is interesting to know that there were Churches at Elkesley, Fledborough, Gringley, Grove, Laneham, Misterton, E. Markham, Osberton, and Rampton, even in those early days which were probably built in Saxon times. The Norman door and Chancel Arch and Font can still be seen at Laneham, and Saxon herring-bone work in the walls. When Ordsall Church was restored in 1877, it is said that fragments of a Norman font were found in the south wall of the nave, but we have no other evidence of a Norman Church. The present building has been altered and restored several times, and was almost completely rebuilt in 1877, with the exception of the Tower and Nave arcades and side-walls of the Chancel. The oldest part of the Church, as we see it to-day, is to be found in the pillars and arches of the North Aisle. Two of the capitals at the top of the pillars have the nail-head ornament, which is usually found in the Early English style. One column in the Vestry at the east end of the North Aisle is in the style known as "banded Early English." Possibly this side chapel was built first, and the North Aisle added afterwards. The South Arcade consists of four bays, and seems to be later in date, and was probably built about 1250. The pillars are hexagonal, except one in the South Aisle, which has four shafts attached.


The windows are chiefly in the Decorated style which prevailed in England about 1350. The Aisle windows are square-headed with tracery at the top, which is a convenient form for side-aisles, and is found in many Churches in the county. Most of the tracery was renewed in 1877. Originally, the roof was higher, and there was a clerestory with small windows above the Nave Arcades. Nearly all Churches had this important feature, which was designed to give extra light, and the absence of a clerestory in this case makes the Church very dark. The North and South Chancel windows are plain three-light, and the old East window was similar in design. The latter was removed in 1877 to make room for the large five-light window in an elaborate Decorated style. For this reason the Chancel roof was raised much higher than the Nave, which greatly detracts from the appearance of the Church on the outside. The large east window contains an inscription: "In gloriam Dei in memoriam Josephi Rodgers qui duo et octoginta annos natus tertio die Decembris anno dom: MDCCCLXVII in Sheffieldiae Vico Mortem obiit. Hanc fenestram Robertus Newbold. Dedit. Dicavit. Dedicavit." —("To the glory of God and in memory of Joseph Rodgers, who was born 82 years ago and died in the neighbourhood of Sheffield on December 3rd, 1867. Robert Newbold gave, ordered and dedicated this window.") In the centre is a picture of the Resurrection, with the inscription: "I am the Resurrection and the Life, lie that believeth on me, though he were dead yet shall he live. John xi, 25." On the left is the healing of the blind man: "Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole. Mark 10, 52." On the right the blind man testifies to the Jews, with the words, "One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. John 9, 25." Above is the Ascension in centre, while on the left is Moses holding the two tablets of stone, and on the right is St. John with his vision of Heaven.

Mr. Newbold lived at "The Biggins," now Ordsall Hall, and gave the window in memory of his relative, who was director of a Sheffield cutlery firm. The window is by Camm Brothers.

South Chancel.

"To the glory of God and in memory of Timothy and Ellen Flint and of their relatives who lie at rest in this churchyard. A.D. 1923." The window represents the history of the Church in Nottinghamshire. On the left, St. Paulinus, holding a model of York Minster, which he founded in A.D. 627. Our Church was in the Diocese of York until 1837, when it was made part of Lincoln. On the right, St. Hugh of Lincoln with his favourite swan. In the centre, the figure of the Virgin holding a book, representing the present St. Mary's Cathedral at Southwell. The window is a very good one by Powell.

North Chancel.

"For the adornment of the House of God and in memory of Joseph and Catherine Hall, who were married in this Church on the 4th of June, 1696. This window is dedicated by Sir John Hall, K.C.M.O.,of New Zealand. A.D. 1905." The window represents the Marriage Feast at Cana. Joseph Hall was the son of a shipping merchant in Hull and married Catherine Pigot, (laughter of the Rector of Ordsall in 1696. Sir John Hall, of Hororata, Canterbury, New Zealand, came over to visit the places in England connected with his ancestors and gave this window to Ordsall Church. It is by Kempe.


"In most loving memory of Betsy Witton, the wife of George Marshall, of Mount Vernon, Ordsall. She died 1st September, 1881, and was buried in the Cemetery, Retford."

"In whom we have redemption, through His blood, the forgiveness of sins."

In the upper part of the window are three angels with scrolls: "So Christ was once offered "to bear the sins of many."

The window is three-light, and retains its ancient tracery in the Decorated Style. The stained glass is by Camm Brothers, and is a picture of the Crucifixion. Mr. Marshall was a well known Solicitor in Eetford at that time, and was Mayor in the Jubilee Year, 1887. The house was afterwards the property of the Eddison family, and is now a nursing home.

North Aisle.

"To the Glory of God and in loving memory of John Christopher Payne, for 21 years Churchwarden of this parish, and also of Caroline Elizabeth, his wife, who both died in Florida, U.S., the former July 15th, 1889, and the latter September 10th, 1889. Erected by their nephew, Robt. Frederick Lee, January 1890."

The window contains three medallions with pictures of St. John, St. Christopher, and St. Elizabeth. St. John the Evangelist is depicted in the traditional manner, holding a chalice with a dragon coming out of it. There was an ancient tradition that a priest of Liana's Temple challenged St. John to drink a cup of poison. But when the Saint took the cup in his hands, and made the sign of the Cross, Satan arose from it and flew away in the form of a dragon.

St. Christopher is carrying the Holy Child upon his shoulder across a stream. He was the Patron Saint of travellers, and the story of his journey is well known. This picture was often painted on the walls of mediaeval Churches. The Saint carries a palm tree as a staff, and a pilgrim can be seen waiting on the bank of the stream.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary holds the distaff. This was her symbol, as she is said to have spent her time and money in spinning and working for the poor people of her country; who came to her castle. Sho married Ludwig of Thuringia in 1220. Her husband died in the Crusades, and she became the Saint of mercy and charity. There is a beautiful modern statue of her in Blakeney Church, Norfolk.

Mr. Payne was a farmer and auctioneer, who lived at West Hill Farm. He began the Cattle Market near the station, and eventually went to join his sons, Samuel and Arthur, in Florida, where they had a fruit farm. There were also two daughters, Mary and Margaret, and the youngest went abroad with them.

North Aisle.

"To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Julie Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Brough, of Liverpool, who died at Torquay on 19th July, 1881, and is there interred, aged 26."

"Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.—Mark, x chapter, xiv verse."

The window contains a figure of Christ blessing little children.

South Aisle.

"To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Louisa, daughter of Thomas Brough, of Liverpool, who died in the parish of Ordsall, July 17th 1879, and is interred in the Churchyard, aged 26."

"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd giveth nis life for the sheep.—John, x chapter, ii verse."

The window represents the parable of the Good Shepherd.

Mrs. Brough gave these two windows in memory of her daughters. She was a widow, and lived in Queen Street, in the house at the corner of the Crescent.

These windows are by Camm Brothers, Smethwick, Birmingham.

On the S.W. Pillar is a brass plate—

"This Church
Dedicated to All Hallows'
and Founded in Norman Times
was re-opened by Christopher, Lord Bishop of
Lincoln, Oct. 31, 1877 A.D.
After Restoration and Enlargement.
Samuel Kelson Stothert,  Rector.
Samuel Jones )
James Radcliffe )Churchwardens


The Porch was entirely renewed in 1877, and replaced an older one of no special interest.

The tower is built in four stages, with a spiral staircase in the s.w. corner. The lower part was built in the 14th Century, and the upper stage about 1400. The pinnacles and battlements were taken down and rebuilt in 1877. There were only three bells until 1892, when three now bells were added to make a light peal of six, which were hung in a new iron frame at a cost of £240. The tenor (6) weighs about 7 cwt. The new bells, were dedicated by the Bishop of Derby on Aug. 3rd, 1892. The inscriptions on the bells are:—

  1. Hosanna in Excelsis (Hosanna in the Highest).
  2. Sursum Corda (Lift up your hearts).
  3. In Memory of Mrs. Scrimshaw. [C. T. Scrimshaw.
  4. In Gloriam Dei (To the Glory of God).[Re-cast 1892.
  5. Daniel Hedderly made me in 1743.
  6. God save His Church. [John Johnson, 1661.

The first four bells have the name of "John Taylor & Co., Bell Founders, Loughborough. 1892."

Daniel Hedderly lived at Bawtry. He began making bells in 1723, and afterwards moved to Nottingham and cast many bells there. The last Bellfounder of his name was George Hedderly who emigrated to America in 1800, and the old Bellfounder's yard survived in Nottingham until it was pulled down a few years ago.

The sixth bell has the mark of George Oldfield, the letters G.O. and a cross between a star and a crescent. His family were bellfounders in Nottingham for 200 years (1539—1741). Many bells were cast by this firm with this inscription, to celebrate the Restoration of Charles II, and the Revival of the English Church in 1660.

John Johnson presumably gave the bell, and was probably Churchwarden. He married Catharine Brownlow, of Ossington. He died on Oct. 10th, 1680, aged 43, and was buried in the South Aisle, where there is a brass memorial to him.

Mr. C. T. Scrimshaw lived in Westfield.

The poor box and the Clerk's chair were made out of the old beams taken from the belfry.

The first peal on the bells was rung by the North Notts. Association on Nov. 19th, 1898, in 2 hours 48 minutes. Many peals have been rung since.

The two-manual organ was built by Brindley & Foster, of Sheffield, in 1877, at a cost of £300, to the following specification: Great organ, 8 stops; swell organ, 6 stops; pedal, 2 stops. It stands at the end of the South Aisle, which was probably the site of the Lady Chapel in former days.


A new altar of carved oak was given by subscription, and dedicated on September 26th, 1894. At that time the tiles were raised in the Sanctuary to form a permanent step, with a border of stone. For some years before this, the altar consisted of a framework of deal upon which the frontals were hung. There is also an old altar, probably of 18th Century date, now used as a table in the Vestry, where it was moved in 1877.

Altar Cross.

"To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Betsy Witton Marshall."

Mrs. Marshall was the daughter of Mr. Newton, the Town Clerk, and sister of Mrs. Samuel Jones.


"In memory of Rev. S. K. Stothert, Rector of this Church. 1873-1896."

Processional Cross.

"I.M. Rev. S. K. Stothert, M.A., LL.d., Rector 1873-1896. For the use of All Hallows', Ordsall, 1898."

Reading Desk.

"I.M. the Rev. S. K. Stothert, LL.d., Rector of this Church, 1873-1896."


"Given by Sarah White, in loving memory of her husband, Frances White, of Meadowfield,. October 31st, 1877."

Mr. White was a Maltster on the Wharf, and built this house about 1860.

The Screen.

Ordsall Church. The Screen. (Removed from the West End and Restored in 1939.
Ordsall Church. The Screen. (Removed from the West End and Restored in 1939.

At the West end of the Church across the Tower Arch,  stands one of the most interesting things in Ordsall Church. It is an ancient Rood-screen, which now supports the front of the Ringers' Gallery. These screens were always placed at the Chancel step to divide the Chancel from the Nave. At one time they were universal and placed in every Church, and were all made of stone or wood. The lower part of these wooden screens contained panels, and had painted pictures of Saints, such as we can still see at Blyth. The central part of the screen consisted of openings with carved tracery, like windows without glass. There were gates or doors in the central arch. Above the tracery was fan-vaulting springing from the upright mullions to support the Rood-loft above. This loft was a narrow gallery across the top of the screen, with a balcony front of panels or niches to contain figures. Above the loft stood the Rood, for which the whole screen was erected. This was a large Crucifix, carved and guilded, and on either side were statues of St. Mary and St. John, the watchers by the Cross. Lamps and candles were kept burning up in the loft, which was approached by a narrow turret staircase in the wall or wooden steps. Frequently we find money left in ancient wills for a light to burn before the Rood. Such staircases may still be seen at Tuxford, Gamston and E. Markham, and many other Churches. A completely restored screen may be seen at N. Muskham, where the steps and old door to the Rood loft still remain. This gives a good idea of what Rood Screens once were like. Many screens remain in the county, but the loft has been destroyed in nearly every case, though there is a very interesting one at Sutton-on-Trent, and another  perfect specimen with a little staircase in the wall, at Cotes-by-Stow. Fine screens remain at East Drayton, Newark, Strelley and Blyth. Norfolk and Devon contain the most perfect screens in England. It is sometimes said that the priest used to ascend to the loft to read the epistle and gospel in Mediaeval days, but this is confusing the Rood Screen with the large stone Pulpitum or choir screen of Cathedral and Collegiate Churches. This had a wide gallery on the top, and processions went up up on the Festivals, and part of the service was read there. These lofts also very often contained organs, large instruments in Cathedrals, and small portable organs in parish Churches, and sometimes the village choir boys sat up there too.

But the chief purpose was to support the Rood, and enable the servers to go up and attend to the lights and observe special ceremonial in Lent and at other times. It was evidently the desire of every parish Church to have a screen, and we find in the will of Sir Richard Bassett, of Fledborough 15th  May, 1525, "To  the Rood Loft making £6/13/4." Unfortunately, most of these beautiful screens were destroyed at the Reformation or by the Restorers of Churches in later days. In 1560, all the Rood lofts were taken down in London. In one Church the loft was used as a Sunday school, and the Churchwardens reported that "the children did kick it to pieces." The screen at Ordsall was moved to the West end, a long time ago, but in 1877 they moved it back to the East end. There was some opposition to this, and one man offered £100 if it could be moved back, as they thought it did not fit, and it obscured the East window. So the screen journeyed back once more. Its proper place should be between the present clergy desks. It has been much restored, but the tracery and fan-vaulting is in fairly good preservation. The date is about 1430-1450. The idea that it once came from Hayton Castle is pure nonsense. As we see these mutilated screens in so many Churches we are reminded of the 74th Psalm:—

"He that hewed timber afore out of the thick trees, was known to bring it to an excellent work, But now they break down all the carved work thereof with axes and hammers.