St Mary Magdalene


St Mary Magdalene’s, Walkeringham is not mentioned in Domesday Book. Parts of the church fabric date to the 13th century. These include the nave arcades, along with 13th century capitals, and the arcade to the north chancel chapel.

In 1103 William de Lovetot founded the Priory of Worksop and gave it the patronage of Walkeringham church. Worksop Priory was a priory of Augustinian Canons. The priory retained the patronage of Walkeringham church until its dissolution under Henry VIII. However, their patronage was challenged in the 13th century. Matilda Daynet claimed that her ancestors had held the advowson of St Mary Magdalene’s in the 12th century, but her claim was disallowed in favour of the prior of Worksop in 1275 and 1280.At around the same time, Archbishop Wickwane established a vicarage in Walkeringham, John de Graua being installed here on the presentation of the prior of Worksop in March 1284. Newstead Priory, a house of Augustinian Canons, also had a strong interest in the area. It held lands in Walkeringham, including lands given by Henry II at the time of its foundation.

In February 1403, Archbishop Scrope confirmed the appropriation of Walkeringham to Worksop Priory.

Walkeringham church is included in the 1428 Subsidy tax records of Henry VI. The subsidy for Walkeringham was 37s. 4d., which was 10% of the overall value of the church, £18 13s. 4d ; interestingly, the taxatio of 1291 does not mention Walkeringham, however the 1428 subsidy gives an value ‘in antiquity’ (i.e. in 1291) as 28 marks (£18 13s 4d). The vicarage was taxed separately at 16s. The records also mention that patronage still belonged to Worksop Priory.

The church tower was built in the 15th century using Roche Abbey Stone (a local quarry). Also of the 15th century is the clerestory, the nave and chancel roofs, the tower arch, and an elm chest.

Walkeringham church is mentioned in records of a commission ordered by Henry VIII in 1545. The commission was to report on the revenues of chantries and the salaries of stipendiary priests. Walkeringham was recorded as having lands worth £4 a year that could be used for a stipendiary priest, the repair of the church, or mending the Trent River banks.

Also under Henry VIII Worksop Priory was dissolved. Patronage was transferred to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1546. Patronage remained with Trinity College Cambridge until it was transferred to the Bishop of Southwell by order of Council in 1926. Thoroton in The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire wrote that the vicarage was worth £8 when the prior of Worksop was patron and was worth £7 . 11s. 5d. in the King’s books.

The parish registers began in 1605.

A churchwarden’s presentment of 1603 contains details of St Mary Magdalene’s. The minister was a licensed preacher. He had two benefices of Walkeringham and Beckingham; Walkeringham was valued at £7 10s 12d. There were 285 communicants, no recusants and 202 persons not yet of age to receive communion.

A new font was installed after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. It is octagonal, undecorated and inscribed with the date 1663 and initials R C B W. It is similar in style to a number of other fonts dating from after the Restoration in Nottinghamshire, including the font in Southwell Minster.

In the north chancel aisle there is a monument to Francis Williamson (d. 1639) and his wife. It was carved in 1659 by Edward Marshall and is in the Jacobean style. It includes two kneeling life-sized carved figures of the Williamsons, three carved kneeling children and a rhyming epitaph. Francis Williamson is listed in Thoroton’s Antiquities of Nottinghamshire as one of the landowners of Walkeringham c.1612.

Thomas Herring, Archbishop of York, toured the diocese in 1743. The visitation report includes details of St Mary Magdalene’s, Walkeringham. The parish contained about 76 families. There was one dissenter, a Presbyterian. A school was endowed with £15 a year and all children were taught in it. The vicar, Joshua Waddington, resided in the parish and he read a service once every Sunday morning or afternoon and the same at Gringley on the Hill.

Records of the 1764 visitation of Archbishop Drummond also include details of Walkeringham parish. There were 70 to 80 families and no dissenters. The curate, the Rev William Stead, resided in the parish and additionally served Gringley on the Hill.

A Methodist chapel was built in Walkeringham parish in 1796.

The population of Walkeringham experienced an increase in the 19th century. The 1832 White’s Directory recorded 116 houses and 529 inhabitants and by 1891 Walkeringham had 752 inhabitants.

In 1843 the monument to Francis Williamson was restored by the vicar and aided by a descendant of Williamson, Sir Headford Williamson. Also in this year repairs were made to the chancel.

In 1850 a church school was built near the church at the expense of the vicar and friends of the parish. It provided free education for children of residents of Walkeringham.

The 1851 census recorded a population of 608 people in Walkeringham. The church was endowed with land worth £157 2s. 11d. The total amount of space in the church was 200. Information on church attendance was declined because of the inability to ‘accurately ascertain numbers’. The vicar was Joseph Kirkman Miller.

The Rev George Martyn Gorham, vicar of Walkeringham from 1855 to 1873, began a diary about the life of the parish in 1855. It is now in Nottinghamshire Archives and is known as the ‘Walkeringham Records’ or ‘Gorham diaries’. Gorham wrote that the diary was intended ‘to contain Records of matters of Ecclesiastic or general interest in Walkeringham parish such as cannot properly be recorded in the Parish register’. Gorham kept the records until the end of his time as vicar in the parish, including relevant newspaper clippings, posters and pamphlets. It includes accounts of the controversy surrounding the abolition of the church rate, the cattle plague, the building of a railway in Walkeringham and rivalries with non-conformist groups over the control of Woodhouse school. Successors of Gorham added to the ‘Walkeringham Records’ and the last entry in the book was made in 1980.

Gorham was also a keen promoter of restoration work on the church building. During his time as vicar the belfry was repaired, pews and seats in the nave were replaced, new oak doors were installed, the nave and tower stonework was cleaned and dressed, the chancel was restored and the oak chancel screen, or rood screen, was restored. The Rev G. M. Gorham described the restoration of the chancel screen in the ‘Walkeringham records’. It was sent to Mr Bates of Leeds to be restored at the cost of £60. Gorham mentioned that the screen was thought to have originally belonged to a larger church. Cox in The churches of Nottinghamshire dated to the rood screen to the early 16th century.

In 1860 Charles Spenser, a cattle dealer, was murdered by John Fenton, a blacksmith and publican. Both men were from the village. Charles Spenser was buried in the graveyard of St Mary Magdalene’s.

A new organ was installed in the church by Forster & Andrews of Hull in 1864.

In c. 1912 Sir Edward Hoskyns, Bishop of Southwell, toured the diocese. The visitation records listed the value of the benefice as £200. The population in 1901 was 718 and had risen to 829 in 1911. The church was able to accommodate £240 people. There were 140 children on the day school roll and 70 on the Sunday School roll. The vicar of St Mary Magdalene’s was the Rev H C Green.

During the time that the Reverend William James Beale was vicar of the parish (1933-38) the top part of the chancel screen or rood screen was removed and used to form a priest’s vestry. Beale wrote in the ‘Walkeringham records’ that the screen was considered disproportionate to the height of the chancel arch. The base of the chancel screen is still in place.