Touching Place

 

ST GILES, HOLME, NOTTS

Holme church is close to the Al, just north of Newark, but unfortunately the Trent intervenes, and you'll need a diversion and a decent map to get there. But get there you must, for St Giles' is a little jewel. A 12th c. church was enlarged c.1300 with a west tower, having a rather endearing little spire; to this, a wool merchant of the Staple of Calais named John Barton added a new chancel chapel, south aisle and porch just before 1500.

Now the Victorians did not restore every church in England, though it sometimes seems they did, and Holme is one that they missed. By 1932, it was in a dire state, and a devout layman named Nevil Trueman instigated a careful and conservative restoration. Push open the south door, and you see a lovely unspoilt interior. Plaster nave and aisle ceilings remain above, and a framed Martin Travers' Our Lady of London faces you from the north wall.

On your left, the font has a cover of 1938 in the Jacobean style, topped by a diminutive St Giles; nearby stairs (designed for slim medieval frames) lead to the room over the porch where traditionally Nan Scott survived the Great Plague of 1666. The original roodscreen was refitted with the Rood and figures of Mary and John in 1938; medieval pews occupy nave and chapel, the Lady chapel being separated from the chancel by the tomb of John and Isabella Barton. The east windows have much fine medieval glass, especially the four late 15th c. prophets in the chapel window. As Francis Bernardone prayed in San Damiano at Assisi, the figure on the crucifix spoke to him and said, 'Francis, go and rebuild my church which is falling down.'

Remember before God Nevil Trueman and all, past and present, who seek to restore Christ's Church, in its buildings, faith and worship. Remember also the work of the Friends of Friendless Churches.

 

Simon Cotton

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