St. Nicholas, Frankton

Church of St. Nicholas, Frankton.
Photo by Benjamin Earl

St. Nicholas is a church with a varied history. The tower, which is the oldest part of the building, was built in two stages. The lower part dates from the 13th century and is made of limestone rubble with sandstone quoins. There are narrow pointed windows in the south and west walls of the ringing chamber. At the lower level there is a window in the west wall with two pointed lights, probably inserted in the restoration work of 1872, under the direction of Sir George Gilbert Scott. The upper part of the tower, containing the bell chamber, was built in the 15th century in sandstone, with a string course between the newer and older parts. The embattled parapet has pinnacles, at the four comers, replaced in 1976.

Rebuilt in the 14th century

The nave, south aisle and chancel were all rebuilt in the 14th century, probably using the original materials, which match the lower part of the tower. The east end of the chancel has been rebuilt later, mainly in red brick and probably 18th century. The two windows in the side of the south aisle have been reconstructed but have original jambs. The three-light window at the east end of the aisle replaces an earlier one and probably dates from 1872. At this time the roofs of the nave and chancel were raised and two small clerestory windows inserted in the south wall of the nave. Most other windows were restored in 1872, and the vestry on the north side of the chancel was probably added at the same date.

Porch, pews and organ

The porch, which replaces an earlier one without windows, leads to a medieval stone doorway (probably 15th century) with a strong oak door with iron hinges. Just inside the door is a font (19th century), being a replacement for what may have been a medieval original. Concealing the 19th century tower arch and at the west end of the nave is an organ erected in 1952. This was originally a country-house organ installed at Clifford Chambers, near Stratford-on-Avon. The pine pews date from the 19th century restoration. Electric lighting was installed in 1925 to replace the original oil lamps. There are also oak memorials to those men of Frankton who lost their lives in the two world wars. The three light memorial window at the east end of the chancel is in memory of Colonel George Biddulph who died in the Indian Mutiny in the relief of Lucknow in 1857, the Biddulph family having bought the Manor from the Temple family in 1680. The chancel arch was restored and partly rebuilt in the 19th century: the roof timbers are 19th century, but at the west end are supported on two 14th century stone corbels.

This is an abridged version of the church history published on the Draycote Benifice website, who have kindly given permission for its use.

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