From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

St. John the Baptist Church

16th centry

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St. John the Baptist Church is a ruined Grade II listed church located in Colwick, Nottingham.

The first mention of a church at Colwick was in the Domesday Book in 1086, but the church that is now ruined was built by Sir John Byron in the 16th century, utilising parts from an earlier church on the site. The spire of the church featured in Mary Eyres tapestry map in 1632. The church was built after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, which is rare, as church building died out in the later part of King Henry VIII reign. Also a chantry altar was built and consecrated after the had been suppressed.

In 1635 it was recorded that the church had no communion table or rail. This was remedied the year after, by the order of church wardens.

The church fell into disrepair, so in 1648 Sir John Musters improved the church by building a chancel and steeple. In 1684 the tower was rebuilt but without the spire, battlements were added to the nave.

By the 1800's the church was again in need of repair, funding was sought from the Incorporated Church Building Society to enlarge the church, but this was declined. A vestry and organ chamber were added to the north wall in 1885.

By 1912 the church was badly decayed, repairs were made but these only lasted a few years. In 1924 more repairs were made, the walls were re-pointed and the down pipes replaced. The roof was repaired in 1929 but in 1933 the church was abandoned and in a dangerous state. In 1936 the supporting beam for the roof collapsed, bringing down most of the nave roof.

Calls for the church to be demolished by the Planning Department of Nottingham City Council were met with resistance from the Rector and churchwardens, who pointed out that the church was not officially closed and they hoped to restore the church at some time in the future. In 1976 the graveyard was closed, the old church was made officially redundant in 1979 and taken over by Nottingham City Council.

The church ruins were made safe in 1978, the headstones were cleaned and relocated and the grounds made into a quiet sitting area.