Gloucester Road, Standish GL10 3EU
Standish Church is the Grade I listed Church of St Nicholas. The present building dates from the early 14th century but is likely to have been built on the site of an earlier church, possibly dating from the 12th century.
The church boasts a high nave and choir, beautiful windows and a pencil thin spire which soars above the old lime trees shading the churchyard. For miles around this spire dominates the view across the green fields as it has done for more than 700 years. Proudly surmounted by a golden cockerel, in the winter months it is beautifully floodlit.
As the mother church of a large parish that once included Hardwicke, Randwick, and Saul, and as a church that belonged to Gloucester Abbey, Standish church is likely to have been built many years before the first known reference to it around 1188.
The church comprises chancel, nave, west tower with spire, north porch, and south vestry, all built of ashlar with Cotswold stone roofs. Except for the south vestry, formerly a porch, the whole church was built in the early 14th century and has a chamfered plinth running all round. Each side of the nave has three windows, and each side of the chancel two, all of the same design, of two lights with quatrefoil tracery and splays recessed both inside and out. The large east window, which is slightly south of centre, has five lights and elaborate tracery. The chancel is unusually large, even in proportion to the wide, aisleless nave. At the east end of the south wall is an ogee-headed piscina, and there is a similar, piscina at the east end of the north wall of the nave. There is a small priest's door in the south wall of. the chancel. The continuous chancel arch, of two plain, chamfered orders, is almost as high and as wide as the chancel and is supported on the outside by straight buttresses. The nave roof is ceiled with timber panelling ornamented with 180 carved bosses. The north porch contains stone benches. In the west wall, slightly north of centre, is a 14th-century doorway to the tower.
The west tower, its unusual narrowness accentuated by its tall, ribbed broach spire of ashlar, shares the west wall of the nave and overlaps the verge of the nave gable-end. The western angles have tall diagonal buttresses. The ringing chamber at first-floor level has narrow rectangular lights, the belfry and the cardinal faces of the spire have cusped single lights.
The church has been altered remarkably little since the early 14th century. The medieval additions included the south porch, and a rood loft the stairway to which survives. The church was restored and reseated in 1762-4, but the size of the nave made a gallery unnecessary. It was again repaired and reseated in 1867, when the chancel, was reroofed. The font is of 1860.
The monuments include the pediment, entablature, and columns of the memorial of Sir Henry Winston (1609) and his wife Denise, from which the effigies, together with that of Sir Henry's father Thomas, were removed from Standish to Long Burton church in Dorset by Sir Henry's daughter, Eleanor; the monument was in the chancel, and what remains of it was moved to the nave and in 1966 was restored to commemorate Sir Winston Churchill's association, through the Winstons, with Standish. To the north of the altar is the gravestone of Bishop Frampton. A thick slab bearing a lady's head of the early 14th century incised in low relief lies by the nave piscina.
The tenor bell, inscribed with the name of William Lawley, vicar, is apparently from Holy Trinity Church, Gloucester, and cast by Robert Hendley. It was brought to Standish on or before 1651, when another bell was acquired. Two more bells, by Brian Eldridge of Coventry, were added in 1656, and by 1667 there were five bells. A bell of 1720 by Abraham Rudhall was added, and in 1748 the younger Abraham recast another. All six bells, which had been out of order for 20 years, were rehung in 1930.
The Rev’d Dave Bishop - Team Vicar
Tel: 01453 822332