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RECTORS OF FELTWELL ST. NICHOLAS
Article 4 in the St Nicholas Loop

1290 Richard de Lynde 1487 John Wyot
1298 Bartholomew de Flixton 1525 Robert Okynge, LI.B
1312 John de Disse 1554 William Jervis
1337 Adam de Lynham 1561 John Crane, S.T.B
1342 John de Worth 1572 Thomas Heithe
1342 John de Keynsham 1585 Thomas Thorne
1353 William Thingrell 1607 John Ford
1384 Thomas Blakelake 1630 Richard Davenport
1400 Thomas Morton 1664 Nathaniel Coga, D.D.
1416 Thomas Reynolds 1694 Nathaniel Naylor
1420 Robert Crowe 1701 Thomas Rawlins, M.A.
1449 John Newhouse 1732 James Virtue, M.A.
1452 Thomas Farnham 1768 James Bentham, M.A., F.S.A.
1465 John Davey 1774 Rayner Bellman

The Benefices of St. Nicholas and St. Mary -were consolidated 4th June, 1805.

Continue on the St. Nicholas Loop or go to Written Records or Join the Tour

RECTORS OF FELTWELL ST. MARY WITH ST. NICHOLAS

1823 Francis Hunerford Daubeny 1953 Roger Cokayne Frith
1823 Henry Fardell 1970 Kenneth Gordon Haynes
1831 Edward Bowyer Sparke, M.A. 1976 Charles William Wall
1879 Henry Thomas O’Rorke, M.A. 1978 Stephen Walter Davies
1912 Colin Arthur Fitzgerald Campbell, M.A 1984 Owen Swan
1916 John Hilton Molesworth 1987 James Harcourt Richards
1921 Cuthbert Cartwright 1993 Peter James Shepherd
1925 Alfred Henry Phillips 1997 David Kightly
1933 Gordon A.W. Wilkinson, M.A., M.C.    
1939 Anthony G.W. Cope, M.A.    

John de Disse, 1312-37, did not reside here, being Chaplain to the Bishop of Carlyle.

John Wyot, 1487-1525, was Master of Morton College.

William Jervis, 1554-61, was appointed by Queen Mary 1, and it is on the cards that his predecessor, Robert Okynge, was deprived as a married priest like the Vicar of Croxton and other Norfolk clergy when Queen Mary came to the throne. A priest might have an unofficial wife but could not marry. The great Cardinal Wolsey, at one time Lord of the Manor of East Hall, Feltwell, was uncanonically married, as the expression went in those days, to the daughter of a certain Peter Larke, innkeeper, of Thetford, and by her had two children, a son and a daughter. There is no reason to suppose that he was unfaithful to her or in any way ashamed of his children.

John Crane, 1561-72, is described in the records of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, as not married, learned, does not reside, not hospitable.

Thomas Thorne, 1585-1607, in answer to King James I's queries, replies that there are, 114 Communicants in the parish. He was Rector also of Hemingston and Cleydon in Suffolk.

Richard Davenport, 1630-64, was ejected before 1650 by the Long Parliament, but lived to be restored. He is described in Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy as a charitable, good man.

Nathaniel Coga, 1664-93, was Fellow and Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and was buried in the College Chapel.

Thomas Rawlins, 1701-32, by his Will dated 26th August, 1729, gave 50 for the purchase of lands for the use of the poor of Feltwell St. Nicholas and St. Mary. It is now known as the Rawlins Charity.

James Bentham, 1768-74, was the author of the History and Antiquities of the Conventual and Cathedral Church of Ely.

Rayner Bellman, 1774-1823, was Rector of St. Nicholas and the consolidated parishes for 49 years, which, so far, is the record for Feltwell.

ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH.

The Church was repaired A.D. 1494 and in good measure re-edified after being damaged by fire. To meet the expense the Pope granted an Indulgence of 40 days to all who contributed to the re-building of the Church Tower and to the Bells which had been damaged by fire.

In 1862 the Chancel was taken down, although the Church had been thoroughly repaired in 1834.

In 1898 the Tower collapsed while undergoing repairs; it was a Round Tower with an octagonal belfry. Round Church Towers are peculiar to East Anglia; according to figures given in 1892 there are 115 Round Church Towers in Norfolk of which 90 have an Octagon, St. Nicholas being one of them. The building of Round Towers was due to the difficulty and expense of obtaining quoins for the angles of Square Towers in the stoneless regions of East Anglia. The Church now consists of Nave, Clerestory, North and South Aisle with Porch. In the possession of Mrs. Newcome, of Feltwell Hall, in an old sketch book, is a small watercolour of St. Nicholas Church dated 1808, showing the Church with Chancel and Tower.

In the South Aisle is a piscina belonging to a former Side Altar. Every old Church had two Altars besides the High Altar in the Chancel. In Churches without aisles or transepts the lesser Altars stood one on either side of the Chancel Arch.

At the East end of the Nave, between the pillar and wall, a shaft or small pillar with zig-zag fluting; it is beautiful work and is of early date.

Leading from the Nave into the Tower is a large round-headed Arch of early Norman work. This beautiful Arch has been boarded up since the collapse of the Tower.

Above the Arch are the Royal Arms of "G. IV. R." At the Reformation the Arms of the Sovereign took the place of the Arms of the reigning Pope which were placed in parish churches.

The Nave of the Church is greater in breadth than in length, which is unusual; approximately the length is 35ft. and the breadth 47ft. Formerly the Nave was covered with lead and the Chancel thatched.

In the North Aisle is a large stone coffin which was dug up outside the North Door.

In the Porch, on the right-hand side of the door-way, :are what appear to be the remains of a Stoup for Holv Water, placed conveniently for the worshipper to dip the fingers of his right hand and cross himself as he enters the Church; water for this purpose was consecrated every Sunday. In the roof of the Porch, below the rafters, are spandrels enriched with foliage.

On the outside of the South Wall of Nave between the Clerestory windows in large letter wrought in stone, are the names of Thomas Deye and John Do, or possibly John Dod since the letter "d" appears in the top right-hand corner of the device. They are said to have been benefactors to the building of the Church, but the position of the names suggests that they were benefactors to the enlargement of the Church when the Clerestory was added in the 15th century. There are other devices besides the two names; the device on the extreme right may hive been suggested by the Coat of Arms borne by the great Earl Warren, who owned a considerable part of the parish of Feltwell; his Coat of Arms heraldically described is: Chequey, Or and Azure.

Over the North Door, on the outside, are the names of J. Flower and W. Nurse, Churchwardens, 1830.

On the South Buttress, West of the Porch, is the Government Bench-mark.

ST. NICHOLAS, BISHOP.

St. Nicholas of Myra; Patron Saint of Russia, also of sailors, travellers, merchants, and children, especial-school boys. At least 20 churches in Norfolk are dedicated to this Saint, notably the celebrated Church at Great Yarmouth, lately destroyed by fire during an air raid; also the Fisherman’s Church at Kings Lynn. Before the Fens were drained the tide flowed up as far as to Brandon and to Mildenhall, and the Feltwell Church, standing as it does on high ground, overlooked the sea which would account for its dedication to St. Nicholas, Patron Saint of sailors.

Many legends are told of this Saint. Once when visiting his diocese during a famine he lodged at a house where the host, owing to scarcity of food, had killed three children and salted them down for consumption. Some of this terrible food was offered St. Nicholas who at once perceived the man's evil deed. Going to the tub containing the salted remains, he made the Sign of the Cross over it and the children arose alive and well. A certain man, anxious to have a son and heir, vowed a magnificent cup of gold to St. Nicholas should his prayer be answered, which it was, and the cup was ordered. But so magnificent was the cup that he kept it and ordered another of inferior value. After offering the inferior cup to the Saint his son was drowned. Three times the cup fell from off the Altar and his son appeared to him with the other cup in his hand. Eventually the father offered both cups to the Saint who accepted them and his son was restored to him in safety.

In Sacred Art St. Nicholas is depicted with a pickle-tub at his feet and three children in it. Other symbols for this Saint are Three Balls, a Ship, an Anchor.

St. Nicholas Day is observed on December 6th.

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