For this church:
The Domesday book includes two references to Gedling. Under the lands of Roger de Buseli there is a manor held by Dunstan which has no reference to a church. Under the lands of Goisfreid de Alselin there is another manor described in a paragraph which starts: ‘In STOKE and Gedling ..’ and continues to list ‘a Priest and a church’. Some commentators take this as meaning that there were two manors in Gedling township and none in Stoke. This seems doubtful as a map of 1609 shows that a church existed in Stoke as late as 1608.
The earliest records of clergy show that the benefice was divided into two moieties. The first recorded Rectors were Peter de Lexington in c1230 for one moiety, and William de Lexington in 1248 for the other. Lexington was another name for Laxton where the de Alselins held the manor in Domesday.
On October 12th 1294 Thomas of Kirkcudbright was consecrated Bishop of Whithorn (Scotland) in Gedling church by the Bishops of St Asaph and Carlisle. The reason this happened in Gedling was that John de Haluchton, Rector of Gedling was also the Bishop of Carlisle.
The patronage of one moiety was in the hands of the Bardolf family from which it passed to the Crown and later to the Stanhopes. The other was in the hands of the Prior of Shelford. On August 5th 1310 Royal licence was given to the Priory of Shelford to appropriate their moiety and on November 12th in the same year a vicarage was ordained by Archbishop Greenfield of York. The Archbishop ordered the Prior to provide a house to the south of the church for the vicar and the house should have one hall, two chambers, pantry, kitchen and a stable for two horses. At the same time the Prior was to ‘repair and new build’ the chancel.
The Crown granted the rectory and patronage of the vicarage to Michael Stanhope of Shelford on February 5th 1540/1 as part of his purchase of the lands of the recently dissolved Shelford Priory.
The Protestation Returns of 1641 indicate that there were 204 men over the age of 18 who agreed to ‘protest to maintain and defend the True Reformed Protestant Religion’.
The last independent Vicar to be appointed was William Stokes, and when he died in 1644/5 he was not replaced, so subsequent Rectors held both appointments. On July 16th 1744 the rectory and vicarage were united.
Robert Thoroton describes only the stained glass in his visit of 1677.
In the north isle east window Azure three Cinquefoils Or, Bardolf quartering Azure, a Lion Ramp. and flowers de Lis Or, Beaumont
There is also - Arg. on a Fesse double Cotifed Gules. three flowers of Lis of the Field, Normanville, quartering Azure, a chevron between three birds Arg.
Int the east window of the south isle - Azure, three cinquefoils Or, Bardolf
In the parsonage chamber window - Lord Crumwell with Tateshall quartering Everingham.
Thoroton’s reference to the parsonage chamber indicates that some of the former buildings to the north of the chancel were still in use then, presumably as accommodation for the Vicar.
The Compton Census of 1676 revealed that there were 330 persons of age to receive the Communion in the parish, one popish recusant and 7 dissenters who absented thenselves from Communion ‘at such times as by law they are required to Communicate’.
The responses to Archbishop Herring’s visitation questionnaire in 1743 by the Rector Richard Chenevix, indicated that in the Parish there were ‘100 odd Families with not above four or five Dissenters. And those Presbiterians’. There was no Meeting House, Charity Schools, Alms-Houses, Hospitals nor ‘Lands left for the Repair of ye Church;’
Chenevix resided in the Parish but had no Curate. He knew of none who came to church who had not been Baptised but believed that there may be ‘some few of a Competent Age, who have not been confirmed, not with standing al ye Care I have taken to persuade em’ to it.’
He catechised in the Church every Sunday from Michaelmas to Easter and all the year instructed children and young people ‘at Home’. But said that there were some in the parish ‘whom it is not in my Power to persuade to send their Children & Servants.’ He administered Communion at Easter, Whit, Michaelmas and Christmas and ‘that Servants as well as their Masters may have it in their Power to come each’ he administered two Sundays running making eight times in each year. There were about 270 Communicants with about 80 to 100 who usually received.
He gave warning of Communion the previous Sunday and did not require parishioners to send in their names because he knew them all. He had never refused the Sacrament to anyone.
When John Throsby visited the church in 1795 he remarked on the continued use of the two stone coffins and included in his additions to Thoroton a sketch of the lid of the one in the chancel and one of the gargoyles. He refers to all the niches in the spire containing figures. One is missing now.
Sir Stephen Glynne visited Gedling in 1848 and was so intrigued by the absence of mullions in the windows of the tower that he included a sketch in his notes.
The Religious Census of 1851 was not well received in Gedling. Although details were forthcoming from all other congregations in the district, the entry for Gedling Township simply states:
Population: 202 males, 200 females, total 402
The introduction indicates that an entry in this form shows that there must have been three unsuccessful attempts to obtain the census information. Gedling was one of only fifteen churches that refused to co-operate.
The restoration of 1872 resulted in the West Gallery, benches, box pews and the family pews of the Burnsides of Gedling House and The Earls of Chesterfield being removed to make way for the present seats. The low lead-covered chancel roof was replaced by one with a steeper pitch.
In 1892 the nave roof was restored by Sir Arthur Blomfield.
The vestry and organ-building were erected in 1925 by Oldrid Scott and choir stalls were built. The organ had previously been in the chancel.
The West Door was restored in 1920 in commemoration of a young officer killed in the First World War.
The spire was repaired in 1997 by the addition of stainless steel tie bars and the organ was enhanced and rebuilt in 1999.
In 2002 the West window of the nave was restored and a new stained glass window installed.
‘one of the most remarkable in Notts, historically, visually, and archaeologically: historically in that it belongs entirely, right to the tip of the spire to the years 1300-20, visually in that the spire is exceedingly thin, takes up more than half the height of the steeple, and achieves by its broach and the first dormer window at a distance an outline of the shallowest S or ogee curves. The sides of the spire actually have a slight , ingenious entasis. The effect is elegant, almost sensuous, in an Indian way.’