The current fabric of the church dates from probably the 11th Century, with 14th Century additions. There is evidence that suggests that the current church is built on the site of an earlier Saxon or Anglo-Dane church.

In 1197 Adelina de Whatton give the church (along with parcels of land) to Welbeck Abbey, in memory of her late father, mother and husband. This meant that the greater tithes (and the Rectorship) and the power to appoint a Vicar transferred to Welbeck Abbey.

Prior to that date, the first recorded Rector of the Parish was Robert FitzWalter in 1188, he was appointed by Adelina’s father Robert de Whatton. Thereafter, until the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1538 the Vicar was appointed by Welbeck Abbey. After the dissolution for a period the Church was in the hands of Henry VIII it was he who appointed Christipher Butterie as Vicar in 1545.

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer purchased the patronage (church and land) from the Crown (along with others) in 1548. He retained the patronage until his death (in Oxford) in 1556. During that time no Vicars were appointed.

After his death Whatton along with his other holdings were forfeit to the Crown and Queen Mary 1 become patron, she appointed one Vicar, William Stevenson in 1558. After Mary’s death Edward VIth become patron, until he restored Archbishop Cranmer’s holdings to the Archbishop’s heir, his nephew Thomas Cranmer.

Thomas Cranmer petitioned Queen Elizabeth to sell the patronage, which he did. The patronage of the Church lay in a number of families hands between 1597 and 1841. The families were Gelstrop, Shipman, Hewitt and Foljambe. The lordship of the Manor and the patronage of the church were reunited in 1841 under Thomas Dickinson-Hall.

Until the school was built (School Lane) in 1864, lessons were held in the church.

By the end of the 18th century the Church was in a state of disrepair. It was repaired and renewed in 1807 (or 1804).

Extensive ‘restoration’ financed by Thomas Dickinson Hall. The chancel and nave were rebuilt in 1848, the chancel length was reduced by 4ft. More extensive ‘restoration’ was undertaken in 1870-71, financed chiefly by TD Hall. An original ‘Norman’ arch was moved from the South Wall to the North Wall, it can be seen from Church Walk, by the North door. The tower was taken down and rebuilt. One of the stain-glass windows was designed by Edward Burne-Jones.

There is a recess containing a statue of a former incumbent, Robert de Whatton [1304–10], and a double piscina. There is a late 14th-century effigy of Sir Richard de Whatton in armour, another of 14th century Sir Adam Newmarch, a third of Sir Hugh Newmarch (circa 1400) and a tablet in memory of Thomas Cranmer, father of Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury.

Copyright 2014 – GR Redford all rights reserved

St John of Beverley Parish Church
St. John of Beverley Parish Church