Church of the Month

Categories: Church of the Month

The featured church for May 2017 is St Peter, Clayworth, which is 7 km north-east of Retford.

The stone-built church comprises a clerestoried nave with north and south aisles, south porch, chancel, and a west tower containing two 17th century bells and one from 1722. The north aisle continues along the whole length of the chancel, the south aisle has been extended by St Nicholas’ Chapel which dates from c.1388. The lower stage of the tower may be pre-Conquest or Norman; there is a Norman window higher up and the tower is crowned by 8 prominent pinnacles. The building was restored by John Oldrid Scott in 1874-5.

According to Pevsner the aisle arcades inside the church are ‘very weird and not yet fully explained’, there being a mismatch between the profile of the piers and the profile of the arches.

There is a fine oak screen between the nave and the chancel, and a 14th century stone parclose screen between the south aisle and St Nicholas’ Chapel.

The church has much stained glass, including several windows by Kempe.

There is a tomb chest to Humphrey Fitzwilliam (1559), and a brass with a half-effigy of John Tonstall, rector (1630). The church contains a number of memorials to members of the Otter and Acklom families, including a monument to Francis Otter (1813) by Sir Richard Westmacott.

The chancel has a set of impressive wall paintings by the Edinburgh artist Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936) which were completed in 1905. The work was commissioned by Lady D’Arcy Godolphin Osbourne as a thank-offering for the safe return of her son, Capt Joseph Frederick Laycock, D.S.O., from the Boer War. The murals were restored by Elizabeth Hirst during 1996.

Further information on the church is available on the Southwell & Nottingham Church History Project website: