Church of the Month

Categories: Church of the Month

The featured church for November 2019 is All Saints, Annesley, eight kilometres south of Mansfield.

The church was built in 1873-74 in Decorated style and was designed by the Oxford architect, T.G. Jackson. It consists of north-east tower, nave and chancel under continuous roof, north and south aisles, vestries, and a south porch.

The church was constructed on a greenfield site to serve the recently built colliery village of New Annesley and the medieval parish church next to Annesley Hall (some 1.5 km to the south-west) was left to deteriorate over the following years until by the 1960s it had become a roofless ruin.

In January 1907 the church was deliberately set on fire (shortly after an attack on Kirkby in Ashfield parish church) and was severely damaged. Rebuilding took place over the period 1907-9.

The church contains a number of fine monuments to the Musters and Chaworth-Musters family that were originally located in Colwick Old Church and moved here in 1937. The most impressive of these is a classical marble chest tomb carrying kneeling life-size figures in Roman dress. It commemorates John Musters (died 1685) and his wife, Mary (died 1739). Another takes the form of a classical square marble pedestal with a three-quarter siz standing female figure in memory of Mary Ann Muster (nee Chaworth) who died in 1832. She was a distant cousin of the poet Lord Byron, who fell in love with her when he was 16. Sadly, Mary wasn’t impressed and instead married John Musters in 1805.

There are also monuments that came from the original parish church at Annesley, including a striking effigy of a knight clad in a shroud and a badly worn effigy of a medieval lady, possibly Leonia de Raines, the sister of Ralph Britto de Annesley.

Also from the old church is a 11th/12th century, drum-shaped font, with criss-cross patterns.