Grosmont – St Nicholas Church

History

   The church of St. Nicholas in Grosmont was built at the end of the twelfth or early thirteenth century. The roof of the nave is dated from 1214-1244, which makes it the oldest, scientifically datable roof in Wales. Its survival probably owe to the disappearance of the settlement near church in the late Middle Ages. Previously, however, the building served the local community, as well as the garrison of a nearby castle, as a parish temple. Its large size determines how important Grosmont was during the early Middle Ages.
   At the end of the nineteenth century, the building was close to collapse, but was saved by extensive renovation in 1869-1879. The work was largely financed by John Etherington Welch Rolls, local landowner and benefactor. During this works, mainly the chancel and transepts were rebuilt.

Architecture

   The church was built of red sandstone. It consists of a five-span central nave, two side aisles, a transepts, a tower over the intersection of naves, chancel, a chapel on the south side and a porch on the north side. The tower was added in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, has an octagonal shape and lofty spire, inspiration for its creation is searched in France, where this form was more common. The aisles may have been slightly wider initially, probably narrowed after the tower has been added. The northern porch was added in the fifteenth century. The thirteenth-century roof truss of the nave is archaic, completely unlike to any other preserved late-medieval roofs in Wales, and only found in southern England. In the wall of the chancel the original, medieval piscina has been preserved.

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bibliography:
Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website coflein.gov.uk, St Nicholas church, Grosmont.
Website wikipedia.org, Church of St Nicholas, Grosmont.