St Nicholas Church

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In Roman times, Littleborough had been the site of a Roman fort, Segelocum on a road leading to an important causeway crossing the River Trent. The crossing was in use for 1800 years. The river is tidal here and the causeway could only be used at low tide. It was later replaced by a chain link ferry which was in use until the 20thC.

Now all that is left are the church at the end of the road surrounded by a few scattered farms. It is a delightful spot.

A lych gate guards entry into the churchyard with old tombstones which is raised above the surrounding farmland. The date of the church is unknown It isn’t mentioned in Domesday book although the Saxon chancel arch and herring bone stonework reusing Roman brick and tile, indicate it predates the Norman conquest. It still has a small Norman window in the south wall of the nave. The other windows are larger and part of the 19thC restoration when the small vestry was added to the north of the church.

It is a tiny church, one of the smallest in Britain with nave and chancel. There is a small stone cross at the east end and a small bell cote at the west end with two bells. The northern bell (Sancta Maria) was cast between 1180-1200 and is the oldest bell in Nottinghamshire. in county. The bell to the south (Ave Maria) dates from 1350. Both bells were rehung with new headstocks and clappers in 1934. The bell ropes are hung up inside the door.

Entry is through a plain Norman doorway on the west wall, with massive buttresses on either side. Inside the doorway at the back of the church is a very plain 17thC stone font with a decorative 18thC carved wooden cover with the remains of paintings on it of fleur de lys and other heraldic symbols.

Inside is delightful and the eye is immediately drawn to the massive Saxon chancel arch with round columns and carved capitals supporting the round arch above. The walls are whitewashed, there is a wooden ceiling and 19thC wooden pews. There is no pulpit, just a lectern. On the other side of the chancel arch is a small organ.

There is a carved wooden altar rail with a wooden table altar covered with a white cloth and small crucifix. The window above dates from 1900 and has an image of a winged seraph (Isaiah 6). The other windows are plain glass. On the north wall of the chancel is a delightful carved wood memorial of the Last Supper in memory of William Langford who was Vicar from 1917-1922. Above it is a 19thC stone memorial to Hugh and Anne Booth. There are a couple of other 19thC memorial tablets to the east of it. On the east wall of the chancel is a piscina with a small carved face on the underside of the basin.

This is a delightful small church. There is nothing elaborate or special inside, but it just works. It is well worth finding. No longer in use, it is looked after by the Churches Conservation Trust. It is at the end of a narrow unclassified road south east of West Burton Power Station. There is verge parking by the church.

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