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Listed Building record MDR5955 - St John The Baptist Church, Ault Hucknall Lane, Ault Hucknall

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Hault Hucknall is not mentioned in Domesday (there is mention, though, of the hamlets comprising the parish), but there are sufficient Norman remains to justify the belief that a church was built here soon after the Survey. Two semi-circular Norman arches separate nave and north aisle. The west window of the north aisle is about 2 ft. by 6 in., round-headed and deeply splayed on the inside. The other windows of this aisle are much later. The east end nave opening under the tower is a fine Norman archway. The base of the tower appears to be of the old building. A high narrow archway with rounded top into the chancel has been said to be Saxon. A built-up doorway at the west end of the nave has a Norman tympanum, with quaintly carved, mythological figures (cf. tympana at Hognaston and Parwich). The three-light pointed west window above, three arches separating nave and south aisle, and the roofs of nave and chancel are of the Decorated period. The nave roof closely resembles the recently-exposed roof of the nave of North Wingfield Church. The church was considerably changed during the Perpendicular period. The south porch, square-headed windows of south aisle and south chapel, east window of chancel, roofs of the aisle, upper storey of tower with embattled parapet and crocketted pinnacles, and the battlements and pinnacles of the south side and the chancel, are all of the last style of Gothic architecture. Dedicated to St. John the Baptist. (1) Architect account, reference to the chancel arch, which has some chevron work and sculptured heads of humans, animals and birds. Illustration of Norman tympanum. See AO/59/284/5. (2) There is a reference to a dispute in 1216 between Newstead and Croxton as to the patronage of the church. (3) Granted to the Abbey of Croxton Kerrial, Leic., before his death in 1159, by William, Count of Boulogne and Mortain, Ault Hucknall Church was lost to the abbey in the early 13th century. (4) The arch between choir and sanctuary, the font and the west door are described as Saxon. The remainder of the fabric is as described by Authority 1. A rare feature, in a small church, is the central tower. The church was restored in 1879. (5) The church is in use for public worship [1959]. The supposed Saxon features are early Norman. (6) St John the Baptist's Church. The crossing tower rests on a west arch towards the nave and an east arch towards the chancel. The former is obviously Norman, the latter is more likely to be pre-Norman. A window in the north aisle also appears Saxon in character. (8) The masonry of Ault Hucknall Church includes fine Norman work in the nave and decorated archway under the tower crossing. Detailed analysis of the stonework has revealed at least six building phases in the west wall. (Not mentioned in H M & J Taylor's A S Architecture). (9) A grade I listed parish church. It dates to the 11th, 14th, and 15th centuries, and was restored in 1885-8 by William Butterfield. It is built of coursed rubble sandstone with sandstone dressings and quoins. It has a Welsh slate roof with stone coped gables. It comprises nave and aisles, south porch, crossing tower, chancel with south chapel and north vestry. The lean-to south aisle has an embattled parapet with one crocketted finial. The church comprises four bays divided by buttresses with three set-offs. Inside the church is a two-bay 11th century north arcade of plain unmoulded round-arches and with chamfered impost bands. The church contains medieval stained glass dated 1527 in the chapel east window, depicting the Crucifixion. The 14th century nave roof has big tie-beams and coarse trefoil tracery above. See list description for more details. (11) Ault Hucknall church appears to have surviving pre-Conquest fabric in the west wall of the nave which is thicker than the walls of the rest of the church and on a different orientation. The blocked door in the west wall is also likely to be pre-Conquest, given that the later alterations to it are from the Norman period. A re-assembled pre-Conquest window is also present in the west wall of the north aisle, which appears to have been built largely from reused material from elsewhere. The plan of the nave is noticeably long and narrow which, although its surviving architectural components are Norman and later, is indicative of a pre-Conquest building. However, without further intrusive investigation, this must remain speculative. The misalignment of the building to a true liturgical axis also suggest some antiquity. Of particular interest is the building stone used in the construction of the church, which is chiefly Coal Measures sandstone even though the building stands on Magnesian Limestone. More interesting is the use of large Millstone Grit blocks, especially in the older part of the church, suggesting that Roman material may have been reused from the fort at Chesterfield to construct much, or all, of the original pre-Conquest church,. This is further supported by the carved window-head in the west wall of the north aisle which displays typical broaching of the Roman period. Other carved stones have also been reused in the west wall of the nave and north aisle which, again, could be reused Roman components. (12) Church bells are of historical significance, as one dates from 1590 and another is a good example of the founder, G I Oldfield of Nottingham, dating from 1664. (13)

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J. 1875. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol. I. pp 241-3.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Ven Edw Trollope. 1874. Assoc Archit Soc Reps 12. pp 162-3.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: 1920. Trans. Thoroton Soc. Vol. 23. p 59.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: 1954. Victoria County History, Leicestershire, vol. II. p 28 and footnote.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: The Parish Church of St John the Baptist. Ault Hucknall - Guide (I CALVERT) (udtd.).
  • <6> Personal Observation: F1 WW 02-DEC-59.
  • <7> Personal Observation: F2 JB 09-JUN-66.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1979. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire. 2nd ed., revised. pp 70-1.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: Hart, C (NDAT). 1981. The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500. pp 123-5.
  • <10> Index: NDAT. 0048. 0048.
  • <11> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1109001, UID Ref: 79189.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Sidebottom, P. 2007. The Early Church in Derbyshire, a study of the development of Anglo-Saxon church building. pp 86-87; Appendix II: Survey Results and Illustrations - Ault Hucknall.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Church of England. 2007. Identification of bells and bell frames of historic significance.



Grid reference Centred SK 46739 65232 (27m by 20m) Centre

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

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Record last edited

Jan 21 2024 10:30PM

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