July 23, 2006
When we visited it was well dressing time. This is the ancient Derbyshire tradition of "well flowering" thought to have originated in pagan times. Basically its the decorating springs and wells with pictures made from local plant life. The "dressings" are set in clay-filled wooden trays and are then erected near to the site of the well. The "dressing season" is from May through to late September and most well dressings are well advertised. Having said that we stumbled upon this one at Ault Hucknall!
The church has a Saxon Tympanum, a lintel dating from the 11th century. There’s a beautiful Norman narrow arch between the Chancel and the Sanctuary, and two larger arches to the north aisle, and between the Nave and the Chancel being fine examples of Early English architecture. The church is petite and the reflected light through the stained glass windows produced a myriad of colours, projected as an elaborate mosaic.
The church has a high-pitched timber roof in the ‘Decorated’ period (1300-1400 and there are a couple of interesting ceiling bosses. The, one over the west window is especially interesting as it represents The Green Man a pagan god of fertility represented by the burst of spring and the re-emergence of oak leaves sprouting after a frugal winter. Often this same figure is called Jack-in-the green or Robin Hood (Southwell Minster has some mighty fine sculptures of the Green Man).
Around the church are a good number of chandeliers all were bought in memory of "departed loved ones". The place must have been a major fire hazard if they were all alight with candles! We read with surprise that the belfry holds eight bells with bell five dating back to 1590 and being founded by Henry Oldfield a Nottingham bellfounder. Interestingly three of the bells were removed from another church at Hallam and only been back in working order since the late 1970’s.
The stained glass window in the east window, known as the Savage window, dates back to 1527 and therefore a fascinating insight into the interests of 16th century Christians. The Hardwick family coat of arms can be seen in the lower panel of the second light) and the lower panel of the first light depicts Lady Savage and her daughter. Like all churches it’s easy to spot the influential family of the day as their names figure in memorial stones, tombs and are prolific in the graveyard. The graves at Ault Hucknall are extremely well cared for and a mooch round will reveal some interesting inscriptions.
From journal Hardwick Hall - A Great Day Out