Church of the Month

Categories: Church of the Month

The church of St Michael the Archangel, West Retford, is the featured church for October 2021. West Retford is a suburb of the town of Retford in the north of the Nottinghamshire.

The church comprises a west tower with spire, a five-bay nave with north and south aisles, north and south porches, organ chamber on the north, two-bay chancel with church hall added to the south side in 1978.

Restoration work in the 19th century included the addition of the north aisle and rebuilding of the chancel by James Fowler (1863-4) and the extension of the chancel by one bay (possibly by Charles Hodgson Fowler) in 1889-90.

Documentary sources indicate a church here in the 13th century, which was probably rebuilt in the late 14th or 15th century. The nave, south aisle and steeple date from this rebuilding.

The most outstanding feature of the church is the crocketed needle spire with one tier of lucarnes. It has four small flying buttresses at the base, springing from the four pinnacles of the tower.

The large south porch has an embattled gable and diagonal buttresses and a stone roof on three thick transverse ribs.

The south arcade is in Pevsner’s words ‘worth closer study, all Perp, slim, of no great bodily presence, but with slight differences from pier to pier.’

The reredos depicting the Adoration of the Magi, by Sir Ninian Comper, came from a church in Lincoln. The chancel screen dates from 1899 and is by Charles Hodgson Fowler.

The church also has a good selection of 19th century stained glass windows.