For this church:
Papplewick St James
The church, apart from the west tower, was rebuilt in 1795 in the Gothic Revival style, incorporating various Gothic motifs. The church is built of ashlar, being varying sizes of squared stones, sawn or hewn into blocks and joined together in level courses. There are crocketed pinnacles on the gateposts, the battlements and the porch, and an ogee arch on the porch. The battlements curve upwards at the end of the walls with a flat slab on top.
The windows are two pointed lights under a pointed arch.
The two-stage western tower has a 14th century tower arch, a moulded string course and eaves band with four gargoyles, and a crenellated, pinnacled parapet; the tower roof is stone vaulted. There is a canted stair turret to the north-west.
Over the doorway inside the porch are Frederick Montagu’s initials and inside the porch over the door are two figures, one possibly early Norman of a man holding a pilgrim’s staff. The other holds an orb and possibly a shell, perhaps representing St James the patron saint. On the walls of the porch are two cross slabs showing bellows which are thought to be the gravestones of ironworkers from the Forge Mills representing ironworkers at the forges supplying Sherwood Forest.
There is a large cross slab just inside the doorway, and two others, one showing a billhook of a woodward. In the baptistery area is a large slab showing a hunting horn, bow, arrow and baldric, the sign of a chief forester.
Inside the church is a western (musicians’) gallery which continues along the north wall. At the eastern end of the north wall gallery was the squire’s pew and fireplace which are no longer there.
Descriptions and drawings of the cross slabs courtesy of Peter Ryder.
Timbers and roofs
Bellframe: steel frame of 1996 by Eayre and Smith of Melbourne, Elphick type Z, Pickford Group 8.2.A with simple 'X' bracing to sides.
Not scheduled for preservation Grade 5.
Excavations and potential for survival of below-ground archaeology
An archaeological watching brief was undertaken in July 2001 by John Samuels Archaeological Consultants on a series of drains, up to 1m in depth, in the western portion of the churchyard. No deposits of archaeological interest were exposed and no human remains were uncovered. It was noted that the waterlogged condition of the western extent of the churchyard appears to have discouraged burial in antiquity. There were no finds, suggesting little activity in this area of the churchyard.
There have been no known archaeological excavations in the interior of the church.
The fabric of the tower dates from the C14th and the remainder of the church, nave, chancel, and south porch, to a rebuilding of 1795. There was a restoration in 1940 and the bells were rehung in 1898 and again, with a new frame, in 1996. There is an exemplary collection of medieval cross slabs in the nave and porch evidently reused in the 1795 rebuilding.
The churchyard is an irregular rectangle with the church heavily offset on the northern boundary. There are burials on all sides except the north. To the west of the church is a medieval cross slab.
The overall potential for the survival of below-ground archaeology in the churchyard is considered to be MODERATE-HIGH comprising medieval construction evidence, rebuilding evidence from the C18th, burials, and landscaping features. Below the present interior floors of the church it is considered to be MODERATE-HIGH comprising medieval-C18th stratigraphy possibly with medieval and post-medieval burials. Under the tower, earlier deposits may survive at depth and the potential in this area is HIGH. The archaeology of the upstanding fabric in the body of the church is of a single period, 1795, and its archaeological potential as representative of this date is VERY HIGH, the tower is 14th century, has an unusual stone vaulted roof, and its potential is also VERY HIGH.
Exterior: Burial numbers expected to be average, with later burials mainly to the west.
Interior: Stratigraphy is likely to be medieval at depth, though perhaps medieval intact at higher levels in the tower, with much C18th rebuilding evidence. In the body of the church the stratigraphy may possibly be punctuated by medieval and post-medieval burials.