A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. NICHOLAS
The Church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, is a very striking example of a church built upon a large mound almost circular in construction. This particular mound had probably been sacred ground for centuries so what could have been more fitting than the building of a first Christina church upon the place hallowed by the people for untold generations? In all probability St. Wilfrid dedicated a church here before 670AD.
The present building therefore probably has an ancestry that was ancient when the Normal builders came in 1120 leaving behind them the now re-used west doorway, with its zigzag on the arch. Later changes were wrought in the thirteenth century through the church’s association with the Manor of Wickham and the Uvedale family so that by the mid 19th century it looked as shown in the illustration below.
The Victorian era then saw a fifteen year period of ‘makeover’. The Norman doorway was moved about ten feet to the west and fitted into the new tower, the north transept was rebuilt and the exterior walls clad in flints. The interior did not escape attention, or ‘spoilation’ as it underwent considerable alteration, including the introduction of an organ in the South Chapel and uniform seating.
More recent internal changes took place in the 1950s with alterations to the chancel and creation of the priest’s vestry. The organ was removed to its current position in 1957 from the South Chapel enabling its re-dedication as a Lady Chapel in 1961. This chapel has received further attention with the installation of engraved glass panels and doors and a lighting corona in 2004.
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