Introduction to St.Alban’s Wickersley’s Church Building
This is based on a document originally produced by Rev.R.Draper, Rector 1982-2000.
The Tower is the oldest part of the Church, and one of the prominent features of the district, standing on one of the highest points for miles around. It includes the church’s entrance porch, from which the bells are also rung. Further information about the church bells can be found here. The tower is all that is left of the Church built by Roger de Wickersley in the fifteenth century. The history of the building can be found here. In the re-ordering of 1986 the current oak doors and a new ringing chamber were added, and the original stone door frame to the medieval ringing chamber was discovered. The small door to the left of the entrance gives access to the Tower stairs, which are not open to visitors.
The stained glass window (1) in the porch commemorates three British saints, St.Alban, St.Hilda and St.Winifred. Information on all the stained glass in the church can be found here. On the North Wall of the Tower in the Porch the “Wickersley Charities Board” can be seen (2). This records those sums given by benefactors for the poor of the parish. One of these benefactors, John Aldred, a nineteenth century pioneer in the chemicals industry, is buried in the Churchyard. These “Wickersley Charities” are still distributed every Christmas, although the sums are now only small.
The Nave is the part of the church where the congregation sit. The kneelers on the pews were made by members of the church around the end of the 20th century, and commemorate parts of the church, aspects of the community, or personal connections of those who made them.
Rectors of Wickersley (3)
On the northwest wall of the nave is a board listing the Rectors of Wickersley. The first entry, Guydo, was recorded in 1240. The board was made in memory of Henry J.Scargill, dated 1867-1940.
The Font (4)
The font is found at the back of church; this is where baptisms (christenings) take place. It was first recorded on church drawings dating back to 1886. The font cover was presented by the Girls Friendly Society in 1935.
Memorials from old church (5)
On the North Wall of the new Nave is a marble slab which contains the Brass name-plates from the coffins that were disturbed during this major re-ordering work of 1833-6. It records the names of members of this church from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The stained glass windows in the Nave commemorate the twelve apostles, and are listed here.
War Memorials (7)
The First World War memorial includes a mosaic depiction of St.Michael, and lists 28 men of Wickersley who died in WW1. The Second World War memorial lists 15 men of the parish who died in that conflict.
Other memorials in the church are to members of local prominent families. One of the memorials above pulpit commemorates the ministry of John Foster, Rector of Wickersley for nearly 60 years in the nineteenth century, and responsible for the major rebuilding of the church in the 1830s.
The Lectern (8)
The lectern is where readings are given from the Bible. It is close to the War Memorials, and was made in 1950.
The Organ (9)
The organ is a modern electronic organ, installed in the early 20th century, although the façade of pipes from the earlier pipe organ has been retained.
The Chancel is where the choir sits, and where communion is administered. It includes four stained glass windows (10), listed here. The chancel also contains the grave of William Holt Yates (11), a prominent figure of 19th century Wickersley, although this is largely hidden by the carpet. He was responsible for building the Christian Institute on Morthen Road, and was one of the most interesting and colourful figures from nineteenth century Wickersley.
The communion table and reredos (12)
The communion table stands in an area called the sanctuary. The screen behind this is called a reredos. The reredos in Wickersley includes mouldings of scenes from the deposition, resurrection and ascension of Christ. These were brought from Oberammergau, Germany, by the Rev.Frederick Freeman, and are set in a stone surround.
Wall feature (13)
On the south wall behind the choir stalls wooden wall feature can be seen. This is the remains of a feature which once extended all round the chancel.
The pulpit stands in the south east corner of the nave; this is where the preacher delivers the sermon.
Warden’s board (15)
This board lists the names of the church wardens from the early 20th century.
Grave of Roger de Wickersley (16)
The most interesting tombstone, and the oldest, lies under the carpet in the centre aisle. It is that of Roger de Wickersley who died in 1472 and of his wife Margaret. The inscription around the edge of the tombstone is in early English and the stone bears the de Wickersley family arms. It was originally in the North Chancel of the fifteenth century church and was moved to this position in 1836. In the centre of this tombstone is the ancient Christian sign ‘IHS’, which can also be seen in many other places throughout this Church. The words on the tomb are in Middle English which is unusual as most inscriptions at that time were in Latin. The de Wickersley coat of arms is also carved into the stone.