St. Wilfrid’s Church
Parts of the church date back to the 11th century however the majority of the church is 17th century. It is a Grade 2 listed building, and Grade 1 listing is being sought.
The Domesday Book of 1086 records that Calverton had a church and a priest. Nothing for certain remains of this Saxon Church, but it was probably on the same site. The present church is built on rock, and the local sandstone is one of the chief building materials. The Norman piers supporting the chancel arch are the oldest standing parts of the present building. They have been dated as pre-1160, but in the capital of the north pier is a carved panel that takes us back to a far more remote period of history. This records the first establishment of Christianity in Calverton, when St Wilfrid of Ripon, patron saint of Calverton (as of many other villages in this area) accepted the invitation of Wulfhere, Christian King of Mercia, to assist in the evangelisation of his kingdom in about the year 666 A.D. St. Wilfrid, who was Bishop of York, is shown giving the blessing after the baptism of a convert, who is depicted naked, ‘new born’ from the waters of baptism.
The Norman church was probably not much wider than the present tower but when the round Roman Chancel arch was replaced in the 13th century by the present Early English pointed arch, the nave and chancel were probably both enlarged to the north. In the 1760s the whole of the nave and tower were extensively altered so that they were virtually as we see them today. The tower was completely rebuilt using stone from the previous Norman tower.
The chancel by its appearance dates from the 1830s and further extensive building works were carried out in 1881 and an organ chamber built in 1888.
The William Lee Annexe built in 1962 commemorates the traditional link between Calverton Church and the inventor of the stocking frame. It presently houses a toilet and storage facilities. The plan drawn up in 1983 shows the layout as it is found today.
The church bells date back to 1623. The Church originally had 4 bells the oldest dating back to 1623 but more recently in 1997 the bells were augmented from 4 to 6 with the assistance of a grant from the Millennium Commission and a local fund raising campaign. The Treble is a new bell, which was purchased with the money from the fund and is called ‘the Millennium bell’ and weighs 3.2 cwt. The second bell was given to us by the Southwell Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers to celebrate their 50th Anniversary and weighs 4cwt. The 4 remaining bells weigh 4cwt, 5.1cwt, 6.2cwt and finally the weight of the Tenor is 8.1cwt. Local artist Sheila Wood designed a window for the chancel depicting the ‘Light of the World’. This was installed in 2000.
The church was reordered in the late 2000’s. The pews and pulpit were removed and underfloor heating, wooden floor and a PA / Visual system installed. The font was moved the front of the church building and glass doors now separate the porch area from the main chancel. There was a also a coffee station fitted in the rear corner of the chancel, enabling the kitchen area to be used for storage and the church building more flexible in use.
The village of Calverton is located three miles north of Arnold, a suburb of greater Nottingham. The parish consists of the village of Calverton including land stretching west to the A614.
Calverton lies in a wide valley surrounded by ancient earthworks, and possibly an early settlement existed here: two hoards of Roman coins have been found, and it has been conjectured that the mint of origin of several of them was close by, perhaps in Calverton itself. The village was one of five original villages of Sherwood Forest mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. Its name is of Saxon origin, being the place where calves were kept. Calverton’s most famous son is without doubt William Lee. He invented the stocking machine in 1589 and this invention changed Calverton and many other villages in the area. Another Calvertonian, John Roe, founded a religious sect in the late 18th century that advocated the choosing of a partner by casting lots. Baptisms were held in a pool in his back garden (Burnor Pool). He also gave us the John Roe plum, which is still grown locally. The Calverton Preservation Society supports a small museum dedicated to the rich history of the village.
Until the 1950’s Calverton was an agricultural village with a stable population of around 1,000 people. With the development of mining it rapidly expanded to 6,000, a large number of miners and their families immigrating to Calverton from the north-east of England. Two major estates developed providing colliery and council housing (mostly semi-detached homes). In the late 1980’s a commuter belt of private housing (of mostly detached homes) developed around the mining estates and the old village. Small-scale developments of luxury homes continue.
The pit eventually closed in 1999. However, a recycling plant and a small industrial estate continue to provide local employment. Colonel Frank Seely Secondary Comprehensive, a well-regarded county school also brings significant income to the local economy.
The population of Calverton at the 2001 census was 7,076 inhabitants in 2,987 households. When compared with England and Wales (E&W) there is a lower proportion of single, separated and divorced persons and higher proportion of married or remarried in Calverton.
The village is now a thriving community with a variety of local shops and amenities including a library, post office, health centre, pharmacy, hairdressers and beauty establishments, two small supermarkets, butcher, and a variety of chip shops and take-aways. There are also places to eat out including a Chinese restaurant The Springwater and Oscar’s. Calverton has two public houses (The Admiral Rodney and The Gleaners) and two clubs: Calverton Miners Welfare (the ‘Top Club’) and Calverton Working Men’s Club (the ‘Geordie Club’). (The Miners Welfare has been used on several occasions for special church events and the Working Men’s Club has supported the church in the raising of funds for the PA system.) There is a local estate agent, Gascoines and there is a cash machine in the St. Wilfrid’s Square Precinct. The village has a local petrol station and two garages.
Calverton has its own leisure centre with sports, gymnasium and swimming facilities. There are two golf clubs: Ramsdale and Springwater. The village has a cricket team and there is a local riding school. The surroundings of Calverton provide ample opportunities for walking. There is also a popular local arts centre at Patching’s Farm.