View of the church from the south

Kirkby-in-Ashfield

St Wilfrid

Newark Archdeaconry

Newstead Deanery

Introduction

The Parish Church of St Wilfrid stands on a ridge overlooking a valley which divides Nottinghamshire from Derbyshire, on the western boundary of the ancient Forest of Sherwood.

Legend has it that a Saxon building, dating from the seventh century and, it is suggested, founded by St Wilfrid himself, was the earliest church to command that valley. Whilst Wilfrid (634 to 709) was one of the most influential figures of his time and the man largely responsible for persuading the northern churches to move from Celtic Christianity to Roman Christianity, there is no credible evidence to link him directly with the area or the church in question.

Leaving aside any supposed connection with St Wilfrid himself, it is still probable that there was a Saxon church on the site as a church is inferred in Domesday. By 1150 any previous church had been replaced by a building in the Norman Romanesque style, which was altered and developed over the centuries. In 1860 there was a major rebuilding, resulting in a building which, sadly, was only extant for forty-seven years, because it was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1907. The present building is largely a replica of the 1860 building with some further enhancement.

Particular thanks to David Turner for research on this entry
and to Judith Asquith for photographs