Elston is a small village just off the A46. Earlier this year, we had visited the tiny Norman Chapel on the edge of the Village but hadn’t had chance to visit the parish Church. This is in the centre of the village, set back from the road and screened by trees. It is easy to miss. Parking is along the edge of the road.
Set in the churchyard, it has a very tall narrow spire. This is 13thC although the base is thought to be Saxon, explaining how narrow it is. It was heightened in the 17th and 19thC for the clock and now has very tall pinnacles at the corners. The church is quite short with a battlemented nave and side aisles. The ends of the nave also have tall pinnacles and there is a stone cross in the centre. The chancel is lower with a tiled roof.
Entry is through the south porch with a simple archway and war memorial on the wall inside.
The inside of the church was restored extensively in the 19thC. It is simple with white washed walls and wooden ceiling. A single octagonal pillar with a pointed arch separates the nave and side aisles. Above the pointed chancel arch is a royal coat of arms. Stained glass windows are 19thC.
The chancel has a simple altar with a green cloth. On the north wall is a splendid organ with linen fold panels covering the front. There are more panels along the east wall.
On the west wall above the tower arch is an early 17thC stone memorial slab to John Lascelles, with a helmet and shield above and a long (and illegible) inscription. Members of his family are buried beneath the tower.
The main reason to visit the church are for the memorials of the Darwin family who lived in the nearby hall and which cover all the walls. Pride of place is the memorial to Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of the more famous Charles Darwin, along with his bust placed here in 2002 to mark the 200th anniversary of his death.
Call in if you are passing but don’t bother to make a special journey unless you are desperate to pay homage to Erasmus. Visit website. And more information about the memorials click here.