Churches of Hucknall

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St Mary's Church, Hucknall

"St Mary Magdalene church is a venerable stone edifice of the Early English and Perpendicular periods, comprising chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and embattled tower, with pinnicles, clock and three bells."

[From Wrights 1888 Directory of Twelve Miles around Nottingham]

It is believed that the first nave and tower were built at about 1180. The church building has been altered and enlarged at numerous times, but particularly in the 19th century. It was restored in 1872 at a cost of 3,500, which was raised by subscription. A new clock, costing 320,  was provided by the Duke of Portland in 1884, while in 1888 a further enlargement of the church was carried out for a total cost of 4,000, to bring the number of parishioners accommodated up to 800.

The Byron family vault, situated below the chancel, is the resting place of the poet Lord Byron. A memorial tablet to him can be found on the south wall.

The original church was originally dedicated to St Mary Magdalene and All Saints. However, for many years the dedication was unknown, so the Rev. George Otter - noting that the village feast was always observed in July, near to St James' day - concluded that St James was the patron saint.

When the daughter church was built, it seemed appropriate to name it after St John, as the brother of St James. The late Rev J. E. Phillips discovered the real name of St Mary Magdalene on an old map, and further enquiry proved this to be the correct name.

St John's church was built at Butler's Hill in 1877, at a cost of 1,207. It was built on an acre of land given by the Duke of Portland, and could seat 200. In 1895 a chancel was added and an organ installed.

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St John's Church, Hucknall

St Peter's Mission Church was started on Watnall Road in 1889. In 1892 a brick church was built on the site at a cost of 670, the foundation stone being laid by the Dutchess of Portland.


Parish records

The parish registers exist from 1559, with a few omissions:

"In the yeare of our lord god 1577, the minister of the Church then neglected to write down in the parish register either christenings, weddings or burrialls as appeareth." From the registers of Hucknall Torkard

It was also noted that between 1592 and 1629 weddings and burials were not recorded, but christenings were entered up to 1617.


Churchyard and Cemetery

"The 'hallowed acre' is not rich in imposing monuments because few wealthy people lived here in the later centuries, and apparently no gravestones were reared in the churchyard 'till the year 1730, or thereabouts, and then the memorials consisted of little limestone slabs, with the initials and year of death inscribed thereon."

From The History of Hucknall Torkard, by J.H. Beardsmore, pub. 1909

The churchyard was extended in 1859, with a further acre of land.

Soon after 1880, the rapid filling-up of the churchyard caused the local authority to make provision for a cemetery. A suitable site was found on Bulwell Road, and in 1884 eight acres were purchased from the Duke of Portland, at 250 per acre. The first interment took place on 27th August 1887.



One of the first Methodists in Hucknall Torkard was George Pickup, born in Lancashire in 1738. An old Methodist magazine quoted: "He found himself in a Sodom, for though a large village, not to say ten, scarcely one could be found in it that either feared god or regarded man."

In 1797, they changed to the Methodist New Connexion. They began in a barn at the side of Annesley Road, which was enlarged and improved in 1828. In 1878, the Trinity Church in Baker Street was opened.

Primitive Methodists began preaching at Mr Smith's house in Wood Lane in 1816. Between 1848-1859 the first Watnall Road Chapel was built. In 1869 the chapel was enlarged and in 1873 a branch chapel was built at Butlers Hill.

The Wesleyans met for worship in a thatched house at the corner of Half Moon Yard. The first chapel was built and opened in 1846 on Chapel Street. In 1880, a new chapel was built on Watnall Road at a cost of 1500, and the old chapel building was sold to the Mission Society in 1882 for 340.

The Baptists were preaching in Hucknall Torkard from the early 19th century, but they had to travel out of town for their baptisms. In 1819, the first two baptisms took place in Hucknall Torkard, in the town brook. In 1827 a room in High Street was taken, until a chapel was built in 1835 in Gilbert Street. Attached to the chapel was a little graveyard, but they had stopped using it for burials before 1870. A new chapel was built in Watnall Road in 1876, at a cost of 4000. This building was modernised in 1970 following a fire.

The Wesleyan Reformers established a Sunday School in 1880. A barn was used until 1882, when they bought the old Wesleyan Chapel in Chapel Street. In 1898 a new chapel was built on Annesley Road.

The United Free Methodist Church bought land at Peveril Street in 1876, and built a chapel for 330 worshippers at a cost of 698.

A Congregationalist Mission was founded in 1867, and a corrugated iron chapel was erected on a site at Portland Road, at a cost of 360. It was for some time the only place of worship in the Butler's Hill district. In 1879, work was started on a new structure, which occupied the same site. It was enlarged in 1893.

The Roman Catholic Holy Cross Mission was founded in 1879, in a room in Whyburn Street. The Church of the Holy Cross was opened 3rd May 1887 in Carlingford Road, at a cost of 1500. This church was replaced in 1960 by a larger building.


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Page created 16th April 1998 by Webmaster - updated 6th October 2002