Church of the Month

Categories: Church of the Month

The featured church for December 2019 is Annesley Old Church, eight kilometres south of Mansfield. It sits alongside the semi-derelict Annesley Hall, former home of the Chaworth-Musters family.

The building was the parish church until All Saints church was built in 1874 to serve the growing community of miners in New Annesley. The old church gradually deteriorated over the 20th century and by the 1970s it was a roofless ruin. In 1985 the tower and walls were reduced in height to make the site safe.

The church consists of a west tower, nave, chancel and south aisle.

The Felley Chapel occupied the east end of the south aisle. It was founded in 1363 and had, according to Pevsner, a ‘splendid five-light ogee-reticulated E[ast] window.’ The fine tracery of the window had disappeared by the 1960s.

The late 13th century sedilia, with Early English shafts and pointed trefoil heads, survive in the south wall of the aisle.

The church contained a number of fine monuments to the Musters and Chaworth-Musters family, including a striking effigy of a knight clad in a shroud, a badly worn effigy of a medieval lady (possibly Leonia de Raines, the sister of Ralph Britto de Annesley) and the Chaworth Achievement. The monuments and the drum-shaped font, decorated with criss-cross patterns and dating from the 12th century, were moved to Annesley All Saints many years ago.

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