St. Nicholas’ History

The Church comprises a tower, nave, south aisle, chancel, porch and vestry and is a Grade II* listed building which underwent considerable restoration in 1872 under the direction of Sir George Gilbert Scott. The church is situated at the west end of the village (population c.350) which in its early days would have been in the centre of the village – the locus of the village now having moved to the east.

The tower, which is the oldest part of the building, was built in two stages. The lower part dates from the 13th century and is made of limestone rubble with sandstone quoins. There are narrow pointed windows in the south and west walls of the ringing chamber. At the lower level there is a window in the west wall with two pointed lights, probably inserted in the restoration work of 1872. The upper part of the tower, containing the bell chamber, was built in the 15th century in sandstone, with a string course between the newer and older parts. The embattled parapet has pinnacles, at the four comers, replaced in 1976. The moulded string course at the base of the parapet has carved heads at the comers and on the sides, the two on the north side being the best preserved. There are four bells – one cast by Newcombe in 1607, and the others by Hugh Watts in 1616, 1623 and 1636. Today the bells are only chimed.

The nave, south aisle and chancel were all rebuilt in the 14th century, probably using the original materials, which match the lower part of the tower. The east end of the chancel has been rebuilt later, mainly in red brick and probably 18th century. The two windows in the side of the south aisle have been reconstructed but have original jambs. The three-light window at the east end of the aisle replaces an earlier one and probably dates from 1872. At this time the rooves of the nave and chancel were raised and two small clerestory windows inserted in the south wall of the nave. Most other windows were restored in 1872, and the vestry on the north side of the chancel was probably added at the same date. The two windows on the north side of the nave have two trefoil lights with heads carved out of stone, one head being restored and the other a copy.

The porch which replaces an earlier one without windows leads to a medieval stone doorway (probably 15th century) with a strong oak door with iron hinges. Just inside the door is a font (19th century) being a replacement for what may have been a medieval original. Concealing the 19th century tower arch and at the west end of the nave is an organ erected in 1952 which was originally a country-house organ installed at Clifford Chambers, near Stratford-on-Avon. The pine pews date from the 19th century restoration. Electric lighting was installed in 1925 to replace the original oil lamps. There are several memorial tablets in the Church, the most notable being one to the Temple family, Lords of part of the Manor of Frankton in the years up to 1680 and distant relatives of Frederick Temple, Headmaster of Rugby School and later Archbishop of Canterbury. There are also oak memorials to those men of Frankton who lost men of Frankton who lost their lives in the two world wars. In the south aisle, in a wall at the east end, is a restored 14th century piscina. The three light memorial window at the east end of the chancel is in memory of Colonel George Biddulph who died in the Indian Mutiny in the relief of Lucknow in 1857, the Biddulph family having bought the Manor from the Temple family in 1680. The chancel arch was restored and partly rebuilt in the 19th century: the roof timbers are 19th century, but at the west end are supported on two 14th century stone corbels.

The churchyard has been extended twice in this century, in 1908 and the 1950s. There are two listed memorials in the churchyard dating from 1669; a headstone to Matthew Morel and a table tomb to Thomas Chater and his family both of which are situated on the south side of church.