Everything you need in miniature

A few months ago, when Man and I went on a church hunt and nearly accidentally kidnapped a pensioner (read about Rosemary here), the one church we were too late to get to see was St Wilfrid’s at Low Marnham. We found it, but it was closed.

So last weekend we decided to return and see if we could get inside.


For a little hamlet, St Wilfrid’s is a fair sized church. It is at the centre of the tiny village of Low Marnham and there are houses and a farm or two set all round it, like it’s sitting on a village green. It’s a lovely little place and you can see that it would have been quite self-sufficient and self contained in times gone by. Now it’s really what you would call ‘in the sticks’.

Low Marnham is mentioned in the Doomsday Book as belonging to one Roger de Busli who, despite no one knowing very much about him, seemed to own half of Nottingham, half of Yorkshire and many holdings in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and further afield at the time.

St Wilfrid, to whom the church is dedicated,  was a Northumbrian nobleman who took Holy Orders. He trained at Lindisfarne and was a bishop. He is famous, apparently, for a speech in 664  at the Synod of Whitby where he advocated using the Roman system for calculating the date of Easter. So it’s his fault Easter hops about on different dates each year.

The church in his name is one of the Churches Conservation Trust Churches I am visiting as part of my Fifty before Fifty challenge (just over two years to go to complete them all).

It has a lovely collection of grotesques and gargoyles around its roofline.



Some of them are really quite irreverent :) . Incidentally, I saw on a website the other day some of ‘mooning men’ – grotesques literally pointing their bare bums at you from the church walls, with their heads between their legs … I HAVE to track some of those down!

I think I probably enjoyed the location of this church more than the church itself but there are several things of interest to commend it.

020bThis 15th century stained glass depicts St James and there was also a lovely piscina from the 14th century.

028bIt has a nice canopy on it, which is apparently called a cinquefoil canopy.

The Royal Arms above the chancel arch are those of George II (1727-1760) and are in great condition considering the age.

031bAnd in the northwest corner of the church, high up on the wall, I found this.

011bIt looks like something out of a sci-fi movie morphing out of the wall.

I suppose it was built on to the original corner which has then been replastered round it. But I couldn’t find any information about it in the information pamphlet.

018bThese attractive souls live at the bottom of a memorial to a William Wilson dated 1698 and, as usual, I searched out the memorial to those who lost their lives in the First World War and found a tribute to three villagers.

035bIn a hamlet of this size I would imagine the whole population would have been affected by the deaths of these three young men.

The main door of the church is lovely.

006bAnd the porch includes a holy water stoop, for blessing purposes, and stone seats either side. In some churches small services and blessings used to be held in the porch.

And another door amused me.

016bMan would definitely have been way too tall for the 13th/14th century when this church was built.

I have another new book. Simon Jenkin’s England’s Thousand Best Churches. Wherever I am in the country I shall be sure to be able to find an interesting church to visit now :) (Man is so pleased!).

However, in my defence, I have also purchased a new book for him. The Good Pub Guide. So, at least when I drag him off to visit these churches we can find a nice pub to have lunch in as well. Everybody’s happy.









  1. That door is lovely indeed – but I’m a sucker for an ogee with lots of mouldings. Jenkins is essential for any church enthusiast – he misses a few but generally picks the must-sees for every county.

    • I love those too … but I really do have a thing about doors. With my list of Churches Conservation Trust Churches to see and the Jenkins’ book, I think I’ve got a fair amount to discover, it should keep me going for a while. If there are any glaringly obvious ones you feel he has missed, I would love to know your recommendations :)

  2. What wonderful faces in your last three pics… a lovely tour as usual Dory – I’m an absolute sucker for your blog – can’t get enough of these churches…

    • Thanks Valerie. I always had an interest in churches and history and legends as a child and I’d sort of forgotten about it. It’s lovely to be rediscovering it now :)

  3. I missed this one, although I am surpose to be following you it seems to miss one now and again. Love the photos :)

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