We recently went for afternoon tea at Colwick Hall Hotel in Nottingham and next to the lovely old hall were the ruins of a church. From the outside the church didn’t look like ruins, as the outer walls had held out rather well, but there was no longer a roof and the church was basically a shell of a building.
The now derelict St John the Baptist Church was built by Sir John Byron in the 16th century, incorporating 14th and 15th century sections from an earlier church. It was restored again in 1684 by Sir John Musters and was in use until the mid-1930s when it was no longer repaired, the nave roof collapsed and it was abandoned as dangerous and left to ruin.
The old church and graveyard were hauntingly English. It was a cold, grey English winter’s day, there were crows squawking, the ground was wet and there were dead bodies under our feet…
The church was no longer accessible, the two entrances from either side were blocked up by metal fencing. This hadn’t stopped some people, as some of the bars had been bent in order for someone to slip inside and explore the ruins more closely. So big sheets of metal had been welded to the metal bars to make sure no one else could make it inside to possibly graffiti or damage the ruin.
I would have enjoyed walking around inside, but had to accept that all we could do was peer through the bars and climb up the odd wall for a different view. It’s amazing to think that it was only abandoned 80 years ago. It shows how quickly buildings can decay and nature takes over.
It was interesting to see that there have been people buried in this apparently abandoned graveyard since the church was left to ruin. Some families must have bought their plots a very very long time ago!
This church was an amazing and unexpected find. It is also cool for the historian in me to know that it was one of the famous Lord Byron’s ancestors that built the church.