Church of St. Nicholas
The clock in the Tower, with its single hand and blue exterior face, was placed in the church in 1772 by the Will of Jane Beresford, the last Tyringham of Nether Winchendon House (she left Nether Winchendon to her cousin Sir Francis Bernard Bt). It is a fine example of an early 18th Century clock, of which only about six remain in the country. A 14 ft. pendulum, a 60 lb. bob and a Graham dead-beat escapement, unusually fitted upside down, still ensure a high degree of accuracy. In 1993, the clock was converted to automatic winding, with the added benefit of lighter weights. The exterior face, with gilded figures on a blue background, was painstakingly refurbished in 1995.
The inscription in the church over the Gallery reminds all those who hear the clock " .... to spend their time in an honest discharge of their calling and in the worship of GOD that repentance may not come too late".
In the Tower, there are six bells, five of which are rung for most services and at the weekly practice on Wednesday evenings. Ringers come here from many counties by arrangement and there is also a team from the village itself. In 1980, the bells were restored to their full glory by White's of Appleton after many years of fund-raising both here and in our generous sister communities of Winchendon and Bernardstown in the U.S.A. The Churchwardens' accounts give full details of the manufacture, in April 1640, of five bells out of the material from three older bells with extra metal added. It is not known for certain where the five bells were cast but it is likely that it was at the Whitechapel foundry in the East End of London. Two of the bells bear the date 1640. They are named:- "HOPE IN GOD" "PRAYSE GOD"
Two bells were later recast and now bear these inscriptions:-
"JOHN BRIANT HERTFORD FECIT 1796 : THOMAS ROSE CHURCHWARDEN"
"H. BOND AND SONS FOUNDERS: 1897 : BURFORD OXFORDSHIRE"
The Rose family lived for several generations in the village and contributed to the restoration of the Chancel in 1891. The tenor bell, on which the clock strikes, is dated 1631 and named "LOVE GOD". The sixth and oldest bell, bearing the date 1620, was rehung in 1986 and is now the Sanctus bell. A new complete set of bell ropes was purchased and fitted in 1990.
The organ, in the West Gallery, was given to the church by Lieut-Colonel Francis Tyringham Higgins-Bernard. It is quite suitable for service work and accompaniment but would benefit from some additions. Equally, the pedal pipes, at present laid horizontally over part of the Gallery floor, take up a lot of space and it is hoped eventually to place them vertically on a sound-board against the West Wall. The specification is as follows:-
Open Diapason 8 ft. Lieblich Gedacht 8 ft.
Stopped Diapason 8 ft. Fugara 4 ft.
Principal 4 ft. Mixture 2 ranks
Stopped Flute 4 ft.
Bourdon 16 ft. Swell to Great
Swell and/or Great to Pedal
The Restoration and Rescue of St. Nicholas's Church
The restoration project for the urgent and essential work to our historic church is in progress and began on 30th May, 2006. It is being undertaken in two phases, the first phase concentrating on the interior of the church and the second on external work. The architect, Rory Duncan, a Nether Winchendon resident, is taking tremendous care to ensure that the fundamental essence of St. Nicholas’s is not compromised. The builders, Ward & Company, are experienced in undertaking church restoration work and respecting consecrated ground.
Restoration and repair of the woodwork in the Nave, the gallery stair, the pulpit and the clock tower floor are part of the interior project. The existing oak timber has been salvaged where possible and re-used. The 18th Century fine timber box pews and Jacobean pulpit were removed whilst the raised pew bases, the wall paneling, the boxing around the pews and the pews themselves were repaired with the best quality English oak.
During the internal restoration work the welfare of our population of rare bats was of great importance.
External work will not be able to proceed until a substantial fund has been raised. Numerous fund-raising events are planned which will be enjoyable and entertaining and may be listed on our Events Calendar.
Benefactors are invited to send donations for the restoration of St. Nicholas’s Church to Nether Winchendon House, Nr. Aylesbury, Bucks., HP18 0DY. Cheques should be made payable to The Friends of St. Nicholas.
St. Nicholas' Church www.stnicholasnetherwinchendon.co.uk
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