Inside the Church
The interior of the Church is very interesting, the gallery now houses the organ, above the medieval font and the altar between the Ten Commandments below which the Lord’s Prayer and the Nicene Creed. The church kneelers are very colourful and include the Magi, Samson and Lion, Lifeboat Institute, Mothers Union Lilly, copy of the Church porch, Five Loaves and Three Fishes, Penguin and Puffin, Noah’s Ark, the Wise Men, Tree of Life, Cross and Tudor – Rose. They were made by Parishioners and dedicated in 1969. The Altar kneelers were also made by Parishioners and dedicated in 1992.
A plaque on the wall opposite the door records the building of the new Church in 1841 although with less seating than the original. At this time pew rents were payable being abolished in 1889.
The coat of arms on the gallery front is from the time of one of the Georges.
The reordering of the East End of the Church was completed in 1990. This involved the removal of stonework and brass rails and replacing with a modular polished wooden platform system. This adds to the flexibility of the Church by way of accommodating alternative styles of worship. It also allows the Church to be used for music performances.
At the Chancel area a Bishop’s chair can be seen, in memory of Charles Sylvanus Meech, inscribed on it is:-
Latin Aalbet cum Deus MDCCXLI Paroch Winsluens
English God saved him 1841 Parish of Winsley
Latin Dapacem Domine Vicar Bradfordens
English Give peace on earth Vicar of Bradford
Charles Sylvanus Meech was a Curate of Winsley
In 1984 St. Nicholas Winsley combined with St James, South Wraxall and St Peters Monkton Farleigh to become the Benefice of St. Nicholas, St. James and St. Peter.
In 2010, the “Benefice of North Bradford on Avon and Villages” was formed and St. Nicholas, St James, South Wraxall and St Peters Monkton Farleigh were joined by Christ Church Bradford on Avon.
The following is a summary from the vestry and Parochial Church Council Minutes and Account Books.
- 1844 Trees planted round edge of “Chapel” yard
- 1846 Organ installed
- 1877 Church first insured for £800
- 1889 Church reseated with pitch pine pews, kneeling boards etc. and restored at a cost of £408.4.6
- 1898 Choir stalls of pitch pine placed in Church £8
- 1904 A flag staff erected on the Tower, not on the top, but at an angle through the dormer door with base inside the Tower
- 1923 Oak Eagle Lectern given to the Church in memory of Miss Cornwall. It was carved during the First World War by a Belgian refugee
- 1924 Solid fuel boiler and hot water pipes installed
- 1924 Folding wire gates installed at outer entrance or porch to keep out dogs and enable Church doors to remain open in summer
- 1924 Electric light installed to replace oil lamps, 19 lights in total cost £52
- 1926 Stained glass window at East given in memory of the late Rev. R.W. Angelsmith, former Vicar of the Parish
- 1947 Electric blower for organ installed
- 1956 New copper weathervane in the form of an arrow erected on the Tower
- 1967 Oil fired central heating installed
- 1971 Mains water connected
- 1973 Interior of Church redecorated
- 1981 Church re-roofed
- 1982 Church rewired
- 1987 Gas fired central heating installed
- 1988 Tower re-roofed
- 1988 14 Japanese oak candle holders mounted on walls
- 1990 Monthly “Parish News” introduced
- 1990 East End of Church reordered. Wooden modular platforms installed to replace stone and brass chancel structures. Church redecorated.
- 1998 Rebuilding of organ
- 2004 Front rows of pews removed and replaced with chairs
- 2007 Churchyard grass cutting contracted out and funded by Parish Council.
- 2009 Church redecortaed and new lighting system installed.
In the Churchyard yew trees can be seen, one was taken from what is now Dorothy House Hospice (formerly Sutcliffe School) and planted in its present position along with a number of others in 1844 at the cost of the Church by a William Stone.
St. Nicholas Churchyard contains the mortal remains of residents going back some 400 years. In addition there are three World War 2 “war graves”.
During the course of every year visitors from far and wide come to the Churchyard seeking out the graves of long passed relatives or friends. These are in addition to the more local who visit regularly to tend the graves of their more recent lost loved ones.
Today the Churchyard grassed areas are maintained under a contract funded by Winsley Parish Council. Regular working parties helping with general maintenance are held seasonally.
By the door inside the Church a board of Vicars can be found, the board is in memory of Rev Homer Hill and given by his wife and son,
- Lewis R Cogan 1846
- Francis S. Forcess 1862
- Reginald W.A. Angelsmith 1892
- T. Francis Baker 1922
- Homer Hill 1961
- William A. Matthews 1973
- David Ritchie 1981
- Derek Smith 1984
- Robert Green 1999
- Howard Jameson 2005
The Medieval Font was found in a nearby garden although it had probably been used in the Church previously.
In 2004, a faculty was granted for the provision of 40 chairs to replace 6 pews in the front of the Church. These were funded by individual donations at no cost to the Church. They were manufactured and supplied by the Church Furniture Specialist “Irish Contract Seating” and are of a link seat design.
In 2006 a “Railway” style clock was erected in memory of the late Mervyn Hallbrook, Verger for St. Nicholas Church from 1968 – 2005. His picture is displayed at the back of the Church alongside a montage of pictures of previous Clergy.
The Church organ originates from 1876, when it was ordered from J.Halshaw & Sons of Birmingham. It was constructed on the gallery at a cost of £200 and comprised:
Great Organ – 6 stops. Swell Organ – 4 stops. Pedal Organ – 1 stop. Hand pump.
By 1922 it had deteriorated and was dismantled, repaired, cleaned and resited
away from the west window at a cost of £102.10.0. Further repairs and improvements were made in 1931 which included lowering the pitch of the organ, making a curved pedal board and a general overhaul.
In 1947 electrical blowing equipment was installed.
During 1960 a further overhaul became necessary including the replacement of the split wind chest tables and stripping and cleaning the keyboards.
Despite further maintenance, by the end of 1994 it was clear that the organ was ailing and had suffered the ravages of time and variable quality of workmanship. In May1998 it was completely dismantled, 700 pipes removed and cleaned, refurbished and adjusted. The pedal systems were all refurbished, several stop heads were newly engraved in Gothic script. The restoration was completed in September 1998 at a total cost of £9000. Half of the cost was funded by the Foundation for Sports and Arts which itself is funded by subscriptions from Football Pools, Vernons, Littlewoods and Zetters.
Gifts in Memory
Further examples are:
The East Window depicting St.Cecilia, St. Nicholas and St. George was given by Dr. & Mrs. Webber of Turleigh House in memory of their daughter Constance and younger son Capt. Sydney Webber D.C.L.I. in 1926
The oak altar was given by Mrs. Dorothy Baker in memory of her husband Rev. Thomas Baker (vicar from 1922 – 1959) in 1962
The chancel cross was designed and made by Mr. Les Butler in 1989 and the gold leaf on the cross was provided by Mrs. Trixie Sampson
The hymn board was given in memory of Flt. Lieut. Oliver Rayner Matheson RAFVR, DFC, Pathfinder