St Katherine


Set in the village of Teversal, St Katherine’s is about three miles west of Mansfield. Although possibly on the site of an Anglo-Saxon church, no church here is mentioned in Domesday Book. The owner, Leofric, was followed by the Norman overlord Ralf Fitzhubert and it is possible that it was he who built the stone church around which the village centred.

St Katherine was the daughter of the King and Queen of Egypt, who was martyred in AD.307 in Alexandria. Her feast day is 25 November.

Looking northwards to the parklands of Hardwick Hall, St Katherine’s has remained in a rural environment of relative isolation. This has made it less of a prey to the excesses of Victorian restoration.

In the late 12th century a south aisle and porch were created. Some time between approximately 1216 and 1270 a north aisle was added and the south aisle extended.

In 1280 Thomas Barry, a deacon, was presented by Sir Henry de Pierpoint and admitted and instituted to the church. Seven years later Barry – described in the 1288 Pipe Rolls as parson of Tyversholt and Averham – was with ‘certain others’ fined for game trespass. Further legal proceedings involving Barry occurred in 1299 when a commission was appointed to try a claim of William de Thorntoft, presentee, and Thomas Barry who was in possession. The case dragged on so long that Thorntoft was said to be praying for a judgment in December 1299. His prayers must have been answered, because a writ of inhibition was issued by Master Thomas de Eadburbury, the judge, in February 1300, and Thorntoft formally became rector in 1301.

On 6 November 1304 Stephen de Thornetoft was instituted as rector on the presentation of Anthony Bek, bishop of Durham.

At the taxatio of Pope Nicholas IV in 1291 Teversal was valued at £6 13s. 4d. annually and was under the secular patronage of Henry de Perpount [Pierpoint]. In 1341 the Nonae rolls record that the church was taxed at 9 marks (£6), that the ninth of sheaves, lambs and their fleeces were worth 7 marks a year at true value and no more (£4 13s. 4d.), and that 60 acres of arable land and meadow belonging to the church were worth 13s. 4d. a year; the tithe of hay was valued at 10s. 4d. per year, and the small tithes and mortuary dues were worth 16s. 4d. In 1316 the advowson was held by Robert de Willoughby and John de Haxecourt, Lords of Pleasley in Derbyshire and owners of a carucate of land in Mansfield. When de Willoughby died in 1316 the advowson was seized in post mortem by Humphrey Perhale.

The Patent Rolls of 1357 record the presentation of Ralph de Temple, parson of Drayton Passele in the Lincoln diocese, on exchange of benefices with John de Chaddesdon. A further exchange of benefices took place in 1374 between John Sherard, parson of Teversal, with Reynold Person who was parson of Hardygesthorn in the Lincoln diocese.

Two references in the Patent Rolls of 1377 and 1386 mention firstly that John Shryrard, vicar of Roteby and parson of Teversal ‘has pardon of outlawry’ for not appearing to answer ‘touching debts of £20 and £40’ and secondly John Bowman, Chaplain, the same for not appearing to answer Peter de Duffield, parson of Teversal touching a trespass.

The 15th century saw some changes made to the church’s fabric, notably to the nave, roof, and the east window in the chancel, plus three others in the south aisle wall. The top of the tower also had battlements added.

In 1428 the Feudal Aids recorded that Tyvershalt church paid 13s. 4d. to the aid that year (i.e., it had the same clear annual value as in 1291). Six years later on 22 April John de Wittington of Teversal was buried in the church on 22 April. At the end of the century in 1493 the church and manor were concerned with a recovery suffered by Humphrey and Margaret Perhale who called to warrant William Astley Esq.

In the reign of Henry VIII the clerestory windows were added to the building. Testamentary burials included in 1531 that of Bryan Frankyshe of Laversall (?Teversal) gentleman who was to be buried in St Katherine’s churchyard. In 1563 Robert Greenhalgh was to be buried in the south aisle near the altar. In his will he left £60 for alms for the poor and £10 to be distributed in charity one month after his funeral. He also left £20 for the church.

At the valuation of ecclesiastical property by Henry VIII in the Valor Ecclesiasticus (1534-5), the rectory of Teversal was valued at £9 19s. per annum and Hugo Hasteley was rector. The rectory is further listed in a schedule of allowable deductions in the liability of benefices in 1572; along with Thorpe-in-the-Glebe it is only one of two rectories in the Archdeaconry of Nottingham so allowed.

An article in the Transactions of the Thoroton Society of 1907 describes an entry pertaining to Teversal church in an inventory of 1552 (the Edward VI Inventory of Church Goods). This states that the church then possessed three vestments made of rich fabrics including silk and velvet, and a cope of green sarsnet. A chalice and cover are listed, and two bells. The full entry is as follows:

Fyrst iij vestements wher of on is of dunne sylke wythe a crpsse of blue velvet.

Itm on of whyte fustion and on other of Rede crewle.
Itm a cope of grene sarsnet.
Itm a chales prcll gylte  wt  a  covr.
Itm ij belles.

In common with other churches of this time registers started to be kept, in 1571 for baptisms and burials and a year later for marriages.

In the 1600s more changes to the building took place, many relating to a change in the form of worship brought about by the introduction of Protestantism. In St Katherine’s these included a two-decker pulpit, a Jacobean style communion table for the altar, gated altar rails which are Laudian in style, sentence boards with the Lord’s Prayer and Commandments, box pews, and a gallery. All of these date to approximately 1660-1680. They show the church becoming a place for preaching rather than ceremonial forms of worship. Externally in the churchyard of an earlier date are two slate headstones, one dated 1631.

Amongst the parishioners Ann Wilson, the daughter of a collier was baptised in 1610, and in 1619 collier Christopher Hardy was killed in Coal Pit Road. Both these entries suggest that although rural, there was some industry locally in the form of mining. In 1626 Gregory Greenwood, the son of a ‘wandering woman’ was baptised in May and the rector, who died in 1628, was minutely documenting entries regarding his own family, a practice usually adopted for great families but here used only for his own.

The great family whose presence now became very obvious in the church was the Molyneux. In 1617 J Molyneux constructed a large vault under the south aisle for his family, and funeral hatchments of the family began to appear on the walls. The crypt is built of stone with an arched roof. A previous rector suggested that it may have been a medieval mortuary chapel but a construction date in the 17th century seems more probable. When the crypt was opened in 1965 and again in 1983 it was found to contain 12 lead coffins bearing the remains of members of the Molyneux family interred between 1674 and 1812. A very large family pew with barley twist columns and a tester was erected about 1684. Showing their position in society as squires of the village are two large baroque memorials, one to Sir John Molyneux (1674) and another to John Molyneux and his wife Lucy in 1688, both in the chancel.

Between 1653 and 1676 there is a gap in the marriage registers. In 1678 burying in wool was commenced.

In 1710 William Parker and William Walker were the churchwardens, recorded in a presentment of that year inciting one Sarah Stoppard for having an illegitimate child.

In 1720 the Royal Arms of George I were installed over the chancel arch and throughout the century the Molyneux family continued to be prominent in church matters. In 1749 Sir Charles Molyneux, Baronet and Mrs Diana Molyneux made a gift of communion plate, and in 1753 Diane Molyneux left £20 to the poor on her death. Ten years later in 1763 Charles Molyneux left £50 to the poor which was to be managed by churchwardens forever. In 1779 the patrons of the church were Thomas Bury and Diana Molyneux, spinster.

At the time of Archbishop Herring’s Visitation in 1743, Teversal had about 60 families, of which one was reported by the rector, the Rev Edward Wilson, to be Presbyterian. There were no schools, almshouses or nonconformist chapels in the parish, but the rector was resident in the parish and conducted services regularly. He administered Holy Communion five times a year: ‘have about 130 Communicants, usually between 30 and 40 receive at a time. And at Easter last, and on the Sunday following, as I remember, there might be about 80 Communicants.’

In 1764 Henry Bugg, who was by that time the rector, reported a similar situation, with 50 families in the parish, one of which was Presbyterian. Everything else was much the same, with the rector resident in the parsonage, and about 24 regular communicants at Easter from around 140 or thereabouts qualified to take the sacrament.

In 1763 there appears to have been some confusion over the church’s dedication, the York records giving it as St Mary whilst Exton’s Thesaurus gave it as St Catherine.

The church closed for two months in 1795 and then re-opened after a full repair. This included the leads being repaired, walls painted, arch timbers painted white and blue and the chancel – for the first time – ceiled and then painted and whitewashed.

In the 19th century a parish funeral cost £1 12s. 0d. and in 1811 paupers’ funerals cost the parish 10s. for ale and 1s. 4d. for cheese. In comparison in 1716 ale was 4d. a quart.

The 1808 churchwardens’ accounts contain a reference on 26 April of 3s. being paid to Sam Wilson for bleeding Peggy Parkin. Sums were also paid for slaying a fox, 6d. for a sparrow – for which many were paid because of the damage to crops, 1s. 3d. for a day’s work and 1s. 6d. for ale for the churchwardens.

The Gentleman’s Magazine of 1810 contained a description of the church and its monuments and also mentioned the painting of the church roof noted elsewhere.

A memorial to the last two Molyneux was unveiled in 1817, one of whom was a former gentleman usher of the Black Rod, the other his maiden sister Miss Ann Molyneux. On 18 January 1818 a testamentary burial of Michael Payne of Tevershalt, Gentleman, took place in the church.

White’s Directory of Nottinghamshire of 1832 gave a picture of the parish in which a population of 400 lived and worked in an area of 2,450 acres. The principal occupation was farming, and the whole was owned by Viscount Porchester.

Twelve years later White’s Directory stated that the church was dedicated to St Catherine, the tower had five bells and the rectory was in the gift of the Earl of Carnarvon and was a neat house near the church. Also in this year, 1844, the Earl established a day school, the mistress being Elisabeth Pridgett.

In the 1851 religious census, Teversal was listed as having 2,820 acres and a population of 373 (190 males and 183 females). The congregation was 13 in the morning and 70 in the afternoon with 25 Sunday Scholars morning and afternoon.

The 1864 terrier lists the church’s holdings as follows:

Parsonage, outhouses viz. dwelling house, brew house, barn, chaise house, stable and cow house, all built of stone except the outhouse which was built of brick.

Tithes were commuted into an annual rent charge of £522 8s. 9d. and woods belonging to Ann, then Dowager Countess of Carnarvon, paid tithe by composition.

Sir Stephen Glynne visited the church on 8 November 1867 and described it as ‘a curious church’, and he noted that the chancel had recently been re-slated.

In 1869 a major event for the parish took place when the railway reached the village, connecting it more rapidly with the wider world. At the time the Rector’s stipend was £510 p.a.

Another testamentary funeral took place on 21 November 1874 when Francis Molyneux of Kneeton, Baronet, was buried in the church. In the same year Bishop Trollope gave a description of the church in his 1874 Scrap Book.

Over the next ten years mention is made of the Countesses of Carnarvon.

In 1876 the dowager countess died, and in 1877 a window on the east side and two on the south side were installed in her memory.

Teversal in 1879
© Crown Copyright and
Database Right 2016.
Ordnance Survey
(Digimap Licence)

White’s Directory of Nottinghamshire of 1885 mentioned these windows and stated that the rectory valued in the King’s Book at £9 19s. 2d. was now valued at £510, that George Frederick Morgan, M.A. was rector, and Joseph Wells was clerk and sexton.

The population rose from 333 at the time of the first census in 1801 to a peak of 423 in 1841, dropped back to 351 in 1861, and rose again to 473 in 1901, declining to 465 in 1911.

Stapleton, in his Crosses of Nottinghamshire (1903), quoted an article which suggested that a payment of sculptured stone to the west of the porch resembled a cross, probably of Norman workmanship.

In 1912 the church was said to be able to accommodate 170 people, and there were 82 on the Sunday School roll. Nine baptisms had occurred over the previous twelve months.

Kelly’s Directory of 1922 recorded that net yearly value of the rectory was £450 with 44s. of glebe and a residence, and that the patron was the Dowager Countess of Carnarvon, and the rector since 1908 was G.R. Eaton, B.A.

In 1967 the Reverend W.S. McCutcheon carried out restoration work which included the church being cleaned and painted inside and out. Three new oak doors were added along with repairs to the gallery, and new heating and a cloakroom were installed.

McCutcheon wrote a guide to the Parish Church of St Katherine in which he mentioned that the Bishop’s Chair is in Hardwick oak and was given as a memorial to his wife by Thomas Weston in 1960, and that a Coptic hand-wrought cross said to have been looted from an Ethiopian church was given as a memorial to the late Mrs Durance by her family. The Molyneux hatchments had been restored by the girls of Queen Elizabeth School in Mansfield.

The weathercock was restored and re-gilded by George Nowell in 1970 and in 1974 wrought-iron gates at the porch entrance were dedicated in memory of Betty Tideswell, daughter of a former verger.

Other items of interest include a statue of St Katherine near the pulpit that is by a local artist Ann Bircumshaw, beaten brass candelabra in memory of Hannah Hallam, and a marriage prayer-desk given by Mr and Mrs H.L. Parker.