Retford, Nottinghamshire

St. Swithun's Church, Retford, Nottinghamshire

St. Swithun’s has a history vey similar to many churches across England. It was founded late in the Norman period and was certainly in place when East Retford (or Retford depending on who you talk to - West Retford has it's own parish church, St. Michael the Archangel) was granted its charter in 1246. Specific mention of the church is not found until 1258.

The church is cruciform in plan with a central tower which is 14th Century, the majority of the remainder of the church is 15th Century. However, the tower is one of those that fell down, in this case in a storm in 1651, and it destroyed the Chancel and south transept. It was rebuilt by 1658 – an indication of the wealth of Retford by that time. The Chancel remained stunted until the 19th Century when it was rebuilt using the old foundations as a guideline.

The change in stonework can clearly be seen both inside and outside the church.

As ever the Victorians fiddled with the church and certainly restructured the interior work greatly. Much of the stained glass is Victorian, some of which is by C.E. Kempe.

Today, the church stands a little too close to the by-pass which runs to the south of the town and feels like it is in a bit of a dead-end, away from the action of the town centre. It is one of the most attractive of Nottinghamshire’s town churches.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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