Elston Chapel

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Elston is a small village between the A1 and A 46 in the depths of the Nottinghamshire countryside. The chapel is on the edge of the village and reached by a footpath across a field with horses grazing.

It is a delightful small rectangular stone building with nave and slightly lower chancel with a red tile roof. The building is Norman with later additions and is thought that this is all that is left of a medieval leper hospital.

There are two small square windows on the west wall. Above is a double wooden doorway which could be opened when the bells were rung so the sound would carry further. The church is unusual as there is no bell cote. Instead the bells are hung in an internal loft high on the inside of the west wall of the church. There are two bells. One is 14thC the other 17thC.

On the south wall are two 14thC square windows with two lights which have ogee tops. The east window has three lights. The east end is buttressed. At the top of the roof is the remains of a small finial which a stone fleur de lis on the wall beneath.

Entry is through the Norman south doorway which has dog toothed carving around the arch. There is graffiti carved on the door jam with the date 1717.

It is a very simple church inside with a stone floor, wooden roof and late Georgian box pews which have worn to a beautiful pale grey colour. These have the remains of hat pegs on the walls above them. At the back is a small gallery reached by a wood staircase which also gives access to the bell loft.

There is a double decker pulpit with carving round the top and a reading desk below. On the wall above next to the window is a stone carved with the date 1577. This may record when repairs or alterations were made.

Steps lead up to the altar which is a simple table brought here from North Cockerington Church.

The walls have been plastered and have been painted at different times. The oldest wall painting is on the north wall and probably dates from jacobean times. There is a lion on a red background with a splendid tufted tail. This would originally have flanked a coat of arms but this are now lost under newer layers of plaster.

There are Georgian biblical texts which are in red and blue-green frames. These were repainted in the 19thc in fairly severe black frames.

The church is no longer used and is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust who have carefully restored it. It is a delightful building untouched by time. It is always open. There is no parking on Old Chapel Lane which leads to the footpath although there is on road parking close by.

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