Our Village - By Fulford Women's Institute

CHAPTER 3

The Church

The Church is in a very secluded spot and stands very proudly on high ground and can thus be seen from many parts of the village. The first Church to be built dates back to the year 1600 and stood to the right of the present building. I was dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the saint who is known to little children as Santa Claus. The story of Saint Nicholas always delights the children, not only of Fulford, but all over the world. Here is the story in brief. Once upon a time a man named Nicholas was strolling through his native town one night, when he heard sounds of crying coming from a house nearby. He stopped and listened and as he did so the crying ceased and the voice of a girl was saying “Father, let us go out into the streets and beg for our food, for it is hard to starve.” Nicholas discovered that the voice came from the house of a nobleman, who had three beautiful daughters, and who had lost all his money. Nicholas listened again and heard the father reply to his daughter “Not just yet, not to-night daughter, let us wait one more night and I will pray to God again.” Nicholas thought quickly. At home he remembered he had three bars of solid gold which had been left to him by his father. He fetched one of these bars while it was still dark and finding an open window and reaching up to it put the bar of gold inside the room. He came again the next night and brought a second bar and again on the third night and bought a third bar, but on the third night he was discovered. The poor father, who had believed that the gold had come from Heaven in answer to his prayers, knelt at Nicholas’ feet. Nicholas lifted him up and said “Give thanks to God, for it was He who had sent me to you”. Many of these kindness did Nicholas do in the name of God and always in secret, that he became known everywhere as Saint Nicholas. Children believe that he fills their stockings at Xmas, so they know him better as Santa Claus. The story goes that Saint Nicholas was the first Santa Claus.

5. FULFORD CHURCH FROM A PAINTING BY WILLIAM WALSH 1814

The north aisles of our first St. Nicholas Church were used in 1649 as a school. This Chapel School as it was known, was built by a Thomas Shallcross who lived in London.

The Church was rebuilt in 1824 by the exertions of the Rev. W. Oliver, when one hundred and eight seats were added. Many renovations have been carried out since then, as gifts from parishioners, such as new Choir stalls, new Pulpit etc., also fitting of electric lighting and new heating apparatus.

One observes in this Church, that none of the windows appear to open. Maybe the people of those days did not enjoy fresh air.

There is a raised pew at the back of the Church. This was used by the Hill Child family when they resided at Stallington Hall, but it is now used by the family from Fulford Hall, which is situated opposite the Church. On the walls of the Church are several plaques in memory of members of the Hill Child family, also one in memory of the Reverend Drinkwater, who was vicar of the parish for many years.

The present vicar is the Rev. R. E. Jones, who was a Chaplain to the Forces in the Middle East during 1939 – 1945 war.

7. FULFORD CHURCH INTERIOR In front of the Church is the Cenotaph erected in memory of those men of the village who lost their lives in the 1914 – 1918 war. On Saturday our Church will be honoured by the visit of the Bishop of Lichfield, who will conduct a Confirmation Service.

Wedding ceremonies are not too frequent at our Church, although the number has increased this last year.

The children’s festival is held in June, when the children take part in the service, reading the lessons, saying the prayers and singing their own special hymns. The children have a long distance to travel to Sunday School, being nearly two miles for the children from Stallington Land and a mile and a half for the children of Saverley Green.

The mothers’ Union have a banner in the Church. They hold their meetings monthly at the Vicarage. Twenty years ago the Mothers’ meetings were held at the local Inn “The Shoulder of Mutton”. A large room to the right of the house was used and many are the “High Teas” which were eaten in that parlour. The members had a rule that two of their number should be responsible for providing the tea for each meeting, so that each of the members did so, once during the year. The Church has a list of Benefactors as below: -

1. Thomas Shallcross of London gave an annuity of £5 upon lands at Walton forever, one half for the poor in Stone, the other half for the poor in Kibblestone Lordship.

2. Thomas Porter Esq., gave £4-10-0 yearly for educating, apprenticing and clothing three poor children from lands at Prestwood and Forsbrook, payable at Michaelmas.

3. William Savage gave £3 yearly for the poor of Hilderstone and 10/- yearly to the poor of Fulford forever.

4. George Myatt gave £2-10-0 yearly payable on St. George’s Day, principle money in the hands of the trustees.

5. William Potts, Gentleman, gave 10/- yearly for ever for poor widows in Hilderstone.

6. John Barnes gave 10/- yearly to the poor from the Leacroft payable at Lady Day.

7. John Batkin gave 5/- yearly to the poor from tithes at Spot payable on St. John’s Day.

8. John Arklaster gave 5/- in loaves yearly for ever to the poor from the Hurstead near Hilderstone.

Wm. Oliver. Incumbent.
Thos. Heath. Chapel Warden.

The above are copies from the records in the Church.

The Vicarage was built about 1880 by the effort of the Vicar at that time, the Rev. G. Coppins. An interesting fact about this spacious residence is that only one child has been born in it. The Re. L. Langridge and Mrs. Langridge were blessed by the birth of a daughter.

6. FULFORD CHURCH EXTERIOR

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