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The Architecture of Hulcote Church

Hulcote church from the north-west December 2011
Hulcote church from the north-west December 2011

The church of Saint Nicholas, Hulcote, is quite a rarity – a church wholly built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603). It was built about 1590 by the Lord of the Manor of Hulcote, Richard Charnock, whose initials are picked out in nail heads on the south door. An inscription in the church states that Charnock "re-edified his parish church at his own proper charge". The two bells are dated 1593 and are inscribed "Richard Charnocke Esqueir",

Door in the south wall of the chancel December 2011
Door in the south wall of the chancel December 2011

Clearly there was a church here before Charnock's building as the list of rectors goes back to 1221 and it is likely that there was some sort of church here during the pre-Conquest period. An inventory of 1552 describes a: "churche and steple coveryd with ledd and the chauncell and porch tyled". A steeple means a tall tower, not necessarily with any spire on top of it. This church had three small bells.

Window in the north wall of the nave December 2011
Window in the north wall of the nave December 2011

Charnock's church is built of coursed rubble, a mixture of limestone and ironstone, as at Salford, with the addition of cobbles. It also has ashlar dressings. The building has clay tile roofs. It contains a chancel, a nave, a south porch and a west tower. All the windows have square heads with diamond shaped glass.

The Charnocke monument [Z49/164]
The Charnocke monument [Z49/164]

The monument to the church's builder, Richard Charnock dominates the north wall of the chancel. It shows his father Robert and his two wives in the middle of three layers. Above this is a layer with Richard himself, his wife and their fourteen children. The bottom layer shows the ten children of Robert.

The Charnocke monument in the 1960s [Z53-34b]
The Charnocke monument in the 1960s [Z53/34b]

A stone nearby states: "This dubble monument was erected and finished in the yeare of Our Lord 1616 by John Charnocke, Esq., sonne and heire to Richard Charnocke here interred being the voluntari acte of ye sayd John Charnock at his owne proper cost & charges".

Stone to Richard Charnock drawn by G Sheppard [Z765]
Stone to Richard Charnock drawn by G Sheppard [Z765]