Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The sheer joy of discovering a Sandiacre gem

I have walked the full length of the Erewash Canal in bits, all of it twice, some sections several times, and always wanted to divert to the church on the hill outside what we know today as Sandiacre, as you head north towards Cotmanhay and Langley Mill. Last week we finally made it and my oh my, what a church! By the far the best hereabouts. St Giles' Church is everything a parish church should be — simple, unadorned, old (part-Saxon and mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086), and full of peace and tranquility; a place for everyone regardless of faith or, in my case, a humanist who likes to think of himself as a pagan, at home with nature and the seasons of life.

The approach is along and up a gully with no clue as to what is at the top.

The Church noticeboard at the top to the right gives a hint of what you will find, but is still nothing to see.

A 180º turn brings St Giles' Church into view and it looks impressive and its middle section offers a clue as to its Saxon origins. Simple and solid. This view is looking east.

Round to south side is the entrance. 

Steps lead down to a crypt. 

The small door dates from the 14th century and was to allow priests to enter and leave the church.

The view to the south from a gate which looks unused.

Inside the church your gaze is drawn to the right and towards the chancel. The dividing wall and window are Saxon, pre-dating the Norman nave, which 'probably dates from the 14th century' according a leaflet available inside the church.

Turn around 180º and there behind you is this very impressive organ, large enough for a cathedral yet here it is in this perfectly formed small parish church.

What stained glass there is is equally impressive.

This modern stain glass commemorates the RAF. The small window to the left at the top is Saxon in origin.

You would be hard put to anything better anywhere.

The can can be said for this three seat sedilla also dating from the 14th century.

This is the priests' door we saw earlier from then the outside. The heads on either side are Edward III and Queen Phillippa.

A view from the chancel towards the organ and the Saxon window.

The fonts also dates from the 14th century.

This close-up shows the font's fine carving.

The local dead of two world wars are remembered on these two plaques. Some surnames appear on both: Carrington and Wood. There may be others I haven't noticed.

This photograph reveals so much about the church and how it has changed. The roof was raised in the 14th century and the windows lengthened. A few diamonds of coloured glass can achieve so much.

When we left I took one look back at this remarkable church, certainly the church I would take visitors to see before any other.

Outside you can see a grass pathway that you can follow to avoid walking down the gully. It brings you out at the bottom and once you know it is there can use it to walk both up and down.

St Giles' Church is on Beeston's doorstep. The Trent-Barton i4 bus route stops very near by. It deserves to be on any Greater Nottingham visitors' map. It is, of course, also in Derbyshire whilst being very much part of Nottingham. Search it out. You won't be disappointed I promise.


  1. Such a fascinating church and not far away either. It was good that you could get inside to have a look around at the impressive interior. The walk up by either path or gully looks wonderful:)

  2. Next time Rosie a place for us to go. 15 minutes in the car maxmum. You can get the key from the Rectory, which is at the top of the gully on the left-hand side (the church is on the right-hand side).