Curdworth History

Curdworth was the first recorded settlement of the Anglo-Saxons in the English Midlands, by the first king of the Mercians, Creoda in 583 AD. The name ‘Curdworth’ or ‘Credeworde’ means ‘Creoda’s Clearing’ and is thought to be the exact centre of England .
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Curdworth has probably had a church since Saxon times, the present Norman structure however dates back to 1165 when the Augustinian Canons of the Abbey of St Mary de Pratis were granted the right to present a priest to the parish. The original Norman church with chancel and nave, ended at about two-thirds of the length of the present nave. The earliest doorways, now blocked up, may still be recognised. In the 15 th century the church was lengthened and the tower was added in 1460 by the Earl of Warwick, but it was never finished with its intended spire. The clock in the tower was given in 1976 in memory of Robert Minshull Hargrave, who used to live at The Mount. This replaced a clock which was removed in the 18 th century. In 1800 the 16th century porch was rebuilt on its original foundations.
There are three bells in the tower:

  • The first tenor from the 15 th century, The Mary Bell, said to have been given in gratitude by a traveller lost in the Forest of Arden and guided to safety to Curdworth, by the sound of a bell.
  • The second bell is dated 1756 and inscribed “Thos. Eayre de Kettering”.
  • The third treble bell is inscribed “Edward Astley 1663. Thomas Wilcox”.
 fontthumb The curiously carved square font is one of the original features of the church. Carved in the Saxon era, it was buried under the nave floor possibly during the Reformation and recovered in 1895 when the church was refurbished by Lord Norton.An early 13 th century dugout chest in the vestry, 10ft in length, is said to be longest known. The wall paintings in the chancel and nave date from late 15 th century and were restored in 1972.
Perhaps the church’s most striking feature is its 16 th century Norman chancel arch with its classic chevron design. Located in the loft above chancel arch is the organ, dating from the 18 th century, it was restored in 1976. Some original windows still remain, the most recent addition was the Millennium Stained Glass window in the south nave wall.  mmwindow
St Nicholas contains a number of notable memorials, including that to Cornelius and Anne Ford. There is a flagstone, in the aisle, commemorated to their daughter Sarah, mother of the famous Dr Samuel Johnson.
More recent memorials commemorate those who died in two World Wars, including an aircraft propeller shaped into the form of a cross in memory of a young Australian airman who died at Castle Bromwich Aerodrome in the First World War.

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Set in the wall behind the main entrance is a statue of St Nicholas in memory of Lancelot Mitchell MA, rector 1905 – 1937. The cross suspended above the altar was erected in memory of Archibald Combe, rector from 1939.

Adjacent to the Churchyard is the King George V Playing Fields, which was originally a raised clay and pebble base for a Medieval Saxon Manor Complex, which was attached to the church. This site and the moated Curdworth Hall, that was located at the top of Farthing lane and also a Saxon structure, were of great importance in the area.

At the edge of the playing fields is ‘The Bomb Hole’, as known by locals, which is actually a Mild Pit, where a Saxon fertiliser, consisting of clay and calcium carbonate, was extracted. On these playing fields, in August 1642 the first skirmish of the Civil War, the Battle of Curdworth Bridge took place.