About this church
St Nicholas church lies toward the west end of Churchstoke, standing on a knoll above the River Camlad looking westwards to the Vale of Kerry and a stretch of high country known as the Kerry Ridgeway.
The church has links with several periods of history. The church’s location and the shape of the churchyard suggests an early medieval origin. A font bowl dating from the fourteenth century is on display. The oldest part of the present church is the tower, built in the thirteenth century. It was a place of refuge during the intermittent Anglo Welsh wars of the medieval period. It was also the scene of a skirmish during the Civil War when Royalist soldiers took refuge from the Roundheads. Chipped stonework is evidence of gunfire and the ‘hotte bickering in the churchyard’.
The rest of the building took shape during the Industrial Revolution and later 19th century. Joseph Bromfield, a Shrewsbury architect, began extensive rebuilding in 1812. A much larger nave was built from local stone and slate with seven large perpendicular windows and a beautiful Star of David window on the south side. A schoolroom and galleries were added. These were supported by iron columns from Coalbrookdale, centre of the Industrial Revolution, 25 miles away. The church now had a seating capacity of 565, evidence of population growth in the area.
The wooden belfry and spire, characteristic of Marches churches, were added in 1815. In 1881 an extensive reordering scheme was carried out by Revd Robert More-White, vicar for sixty years. The chancel and south porch were added. Both schemes were heavily influenced by the Gothic Revival. The chancel floor has some fine encaustic tiles, as has the reredos behind the altar. We have five marble and nine brass monuments including three commemorating three servicemen killed in action in 1893 and 1900. The belfry houses five bells cast in 1721 by Abraham Rudhall, also responsible for the bells of Wells Cathedral.
We have a lovely church in a beautiful setting awaiting your visit.