St Nicholas

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Loxley Church has a history dating back to the 8th century, when the site was given to the Cathedral Church of Worcester by Offa, King of Mercia. A little of the Saxon stonework remains in the north wall.; but to all intents and purposes the present church was consecrated in 1286, the lower parts of the tower at least dating from this period.

It was, however almost entirely rebuilt in the 18th century, the tower alone remaining unaltered.  This stands a little incongruously at the side of the church at its west end (1), the former aisle against which it stood seemingly having been removed. (2)

The church stands within the grounds of the Loxley House  (3), although there is a separate pedestrian entrance from the road.

Note the re-use of gravestones to face the wall of the vestry  (4)

 

 

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As quite often the case when visiting churches without prior warning, the key could not be found in the time available, and pictures had to be taken through dirty windows.  Fortunately one of the features here is the plain glass in the Georgian windows, and, as window sill and external ground levels contrive to allow good visibility within the church, picture quality is better than usual in such circumstances!

5 & 6 are taken through the East window, looking towards the west door; box-pews and Georgian altar rails can be seen.

Immediately to the left of the northern chancel arch can be seen a rope which acts as the hand-rail to the steps leading to the Vestry.  Another door in the vestry then leads to the pulpit in the north wall of the church, and which is hidden in the photograph behind the difference in wall alignment between chancel and nave.  

 

 

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7    Opposite the pulpit in the north wall is a larger high-sided family pew, used no doubt by the Lord of the Manor who resided at Loxley House.

William Debanck was the parson who built himself a private pew and secured a letter from the chancellor of the Diocese restricting its use to the minister. Not having gained access to the church, this may in fact be the pew in question.

 

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8 .      A view of the west end of the church taken through the northern tower window, showing the font and a side view of the small organ now used.

9.   A closer view of the rounded grave-cover against the west wall of the church.

 

"In 1704, already a widow, she [Jane Norcliffe, gd. of Sir Reginald Forster of Loxley Hall] lost her only child, a boy of nineteen; and having presented the church with a fine silver chalice and paten, removed to another parish. To her liberality may be ascribed, in all likelihood, the classical renovation of which the effects are apparent in the excellent Communion rails, the pulpit projecting like a bracket, so that the preacher suddenly emerges (to the delight of any juvenile members of his congregation) from the south wall of the nave the circular headed windows, the box pews, the handsome west-door, and its pretty flight of steps."

 "The alterations in the `forties were the work of the Rev. William Cassebon Purdon. Now, in this present winter, the restorers are busy once more. The disused gallery has been removed; the arch between the nave and the tower has been opened up; a glass-light representing the patron saint of boys, thieves, parish-clerks, sailors, pawnbrokers, and Loxley Church has been inserted in the lancet window; and a cross has been fixed on the gable."

The above two quotations are taken from a history of the church on the village and church web site at  http://redbreast.co.uk/loxley/1923Restoration.htm , which is undated, although apparently relates to the 1923 restoration work which removed the west gallery. See also http://www.LoxleyVillage.com 

 

 

 

ACCESS

Map reference

The west end of the church abuts the private drive into Loxley House. and the door is locked.  Pedestrian access is available through a wicket gate from the road, immediately uphill from the Lodge Cottage. The whereabouts of the church key was not ascertained.

 

 

Photographs: © Edwin Macadam

 

 

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