Duddington Church: St Mary

Duddington Church: St Mary

A Walk Around Duddington Church

There has been a church at Duddington for over 900 years. This is known from the Domesday survey, there was a demense ( Manor Farm)  some villani (property owning villagers) and cottari ( small holders), a water mill and the forest. The old church would have been wooden, the Norman church of stone would have been small initially, as it grew the decorating style changes as you can see on the arches.

Around the 13th century, the tower began, but it could not go on the traditional West end, as the land fell away so it was built at the South East corner. Finally the Broach spire was added. The windows would initially have been defensive. Looking at the door, from this period, 1220, it has the original iron work. And it is not for decorative purposes.

Think yourself  back to the time when villagers living in the midst of Rockingham forest, were at the mercy of forest raiders,   A warning would have sounded and everyone would have dashed to the church- their stronghold. And strong the door was. Certainly enough iron to turn an axe blow and so delay matters till help arrived.

In the next century life was a little safer and the clerestory upper windows were added. Please come inside. True to the theology of the church the first thing you see is the font (the entry to God’s Church is by Baptism). At the back of the church is a 14C banner cupboard where the village banners are kept.  The Parish would process round the village with their banners on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed virgin ( August 15th).

In the 14th Century the Chancel was again extended but it is not quite in line, this is because the magnetic East would have moved 5 degress since the since Saxon times. In the North East corner of the church is  the remaining part of the stairway that would have enabled people to climb up to the rood screen, where statues of Jesus on the cross with Mary and St. John were displayed, here a light was always kept burning.

In the reformation times these were destroyed and a coat of arms often replaced them. The rood is reflected in the 1934 altar with statues of Mary and St. John. You can see in the monuments and floor slabs the continuity of the people living here. They commemorate members of the Jackson family from 1667. Before this date such memorials were not customary.

In our walk around the church we have seen some of the treasures-and beautiful they are . But do you know the best embellishment any church can have ?  It is the People- you and I. People coming in humble faith, to receive God’s grace, Gods strengthening, to fit them for the weeks ahead. This is the purpose of the church. Despite all that has been written above, please do not think of our church as a kind of museum. We have a past and we are grateful for it but what we are concerned with is God’s present-the  ‘now’ in his will.

We invite you, now that you have seen our church to experience it as well. Come back at  a service time , the times are on our web site wellandfosse.org and in the Parish Magazine and join in our worship.

You will be welcomed by us and blessed by God.