Welcome to the Information Index Page for

The Parish Church of Saint Mary Magdalene

Hucknall - Nottinghamshire - England


Aerial view of the Church

 

St. Mary Magdalene is set in a peaceful churchyard overlooking the market place in the centre of the town. The building itself is of great architectural interest and is built on the site of an old saxon church. The church tower which stands high above Hucknall town was constructed in stages between the 12th and 14th century whilst the porch was built in 1320. The rest of the building is the result of extensive restoration work which began in 1872. In 1888 the Lady Chapel was re-built, a beautiful example of nineteenth century craftsmanship. The Victorian baptistery which used to contain the 14th century font has now been converted into a Visitor Centre where display boards and wall panels give visitors a chance to find out a little more about the Church. There are also many beautiful carvings and wall mosaics around the church.

 


View of Hucknall High Street & the Weekly Market from the Church Tower

 

The derivation of the name of the town is uncertain. It appears as Hochenale in the Doomesday Book (1086) but it may be derived from the Viking Hucca's Halth. Until some fifty years ago it was Hucknall Torkard, the suffix "Torkard" going back to the family of that name who were Lords of the Manor from about 1180 to 1320. It was probably towards the end of the Saxon era that a small hamlet came into being - there are believed to be Saxon remains beneath the Nave of the Church - and the manor house may have stood somewhere between the church tower and West Street. Hucknall remained a small village until the industrial revolution. In 1801 the population was 1500. By 1881 it had risen to 10,000 and by 1901 to 15,000. Today it is around 30,000. Agriculture and, from the early 18th century, stocking frame knitting were the occupations of most inhabitants. In the closing years of the 18th century it was said that the River Leen had along its banks more cotton and flour mills than any similar stretch of water in the country. The Luddites were active here in the early years of the 19th century but the hosiery and textile industry developed rapidly and several factories were built in the town. The first railway came through Hucknall in 1843 and coal mining began in 1861. Soon there were two collieries in the town and numerous others nearby. Until rundown and closure in the 1980s these industries were the town's major employers. Rolls Royce began operations in Hucknall at the RAF Station in 1934 and many famous aircraft engines have been developed and/or tested here, notably in the early 1950s the first vertical take-off flight of a test rig nicknamed the "Flying Bedstead" the ancestor of the modern jump-jet. The National School was founded by the Church in 1788, though it is recorded that village children were being taught in the Church Porch as early as 1647.

 

for more information go to one of the links below by clicking on one of the blue buttons.

 

There is a guide leaflet available for visitors to the church, in English, Greek, Japanese, French, German, and Armenian. Guide leaflets in other languages will be added as translations become available.

Guide Leaflet  
  St Mary Magdalene has a ring of eight bells installed in 1958 plus a 14th century Angelus bell. The mechanically driven clock with a face on all four sides of the tower dates from 1882. Bells & Clock  
  St. Mary Magdalene is the burial place of Lord Byron, the greatly influential poet who was renowned for his flamboyant and scandalous lifestyle. Infamous and charismatic, Byron became hugely popular during his life and his undisputed talent lives on today. Lord Byron  
 

Buried in 1852 next to Byron at her request is his daughter Ada, Countess of Lovelace. She worked with Charles Babbage who created one of the world's first 'computers' and Ada is considered my many to be the writer of the first computer programme.

Ada Lovelace  
  Hucknall Parish Church is home to one of largest and best collections of stained glass windows by the artist C. E. Kempe in England, with no less than 20 impressive examples of his work. Kempe  
 

A popular local who became famous as a prizefighter was Ben Caunt who was Champion Boxer of all England. He died in 1861 and is buried in the churchyard along with two of his children who died in a fire.

Ben Caunt  
  There is a guide leaflet entitled "Introduction to the Living Churchyard" to complement the guide leaflet for the Church. This short guide introduces some of the focal points around the Church grounds. Churchyard  
  On Sunday 11th July 2004, we gave thanks for the friendship agreement between Hucknall and Armenia, and dedicated the Armenian cross or Khatchkar and fixed to the oldest part of the church, the base of the tower dating from around 1120.    
  There is a Sensory Heritage Garden in the churchyard, near the entrance gate from the Market place. Phase 3 of the Sensory Garden is now complete and was opened on July 17th 2002 Sensory Garden  
  There is a new Wildlife Garden which has been developed in the North West corner of the Churchyard    


This page created and maintained by Richard Jackson
on behalf of the District Church Council of St Mary Magdalene.
Contents © 2000 - last change 5th May 2011

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