Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Holy Trinity Church, Ratcliffe Upon Soar

I had seen this church a few times on my journeys south out of Nottingham. It nestles in greenery on the banks of the River Sour and forms an idyllic counterpoint to the huge power station just to the north. The festive holiday provided a great opportunity to explore this parish church and I was not disappointed.

As I wandered about the churchyard, camera in hand, I was greeted by the Warden, who lives opposite. He kindly revealed the church's fascinating history and pointed out its unique features. Holy Trinity stands on a site that has been occupied since the Bronze Age. The nearby confluence of the  Saor and Trent made it important for water-borne trade. Later Roman remains have been found nearby and it is likely that a temple to Jupiter stood on the site. A wooden Saxon church and water mill is recorded in 1089 and the foundations of the present stone structure were laid shortly thereafter. The spire was raised in 1290. As with almost every building this old, it has been remodeled and rebuilt over time. Much of the structure is 15th century or dates from a significant restoration undertaken in 1891. It has several interesting features including exquisite alabaster effigies on the 16-17th century tombs belonging to the Sacheverall family, who were the Lords of the Manor.

Holy Trinity is a good example of the unique character of the English Parish church. Nowhere else in the world was wealth (both literal and architectural) disseminated in quite the same way through small local sites. The efforts of locals and bodies like The Pilgrim's Trust continue to keep the building in good repair.

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