Church of the Month

Categories: Church of the Month

The featured church for March 2019 is the church of St Michael and All Angels at Underwood, 15 km north-west of Nottingham.

The hamlet of Underwood was in Selston parish and by the end of the 19th century was expanding rapidly due to the development of the coal industry in the west of Nottinghamshire. The local landowner, Earl Cowper of Beauvale, decided to build a church here to serve the growing community. He owned the land, commissioned the architect and contractor, provided most of the building materials and met all the costs (of over £5000).

Work on the church started in 1889 and it was consecrated the following year. The spire was added in 1891.

The building comprises a nave of four bays with alternate designs for the shafts, north and south aisles, south porch, chancel, a vestry and with a store at the rear and a substantial tower with an oak-shingled spire at the east end of the south wall. It was designed in what Pevner calls an ‘ambitious Decorated’ style by the architect J A Chatwin of Birmingham.

The impressive east window forms a memorial to the men of the parish who fell in the First World War and was designed by Arthur A. Orr. The window depicts Christ the King of Peace and Saints Edmund, Oswald and Edward. The names of the fallen are inscribed along the bottom of the window.

A striking memorial in the churchyard commemorates the local colliery, Pye Hill No. 1 (originally called Underwood and then Selston). It incorporates a winding wheel from the pit and was dedicated by the Bishop of Southwell in 1985.