Welcome to the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Yarwell

The Parish of Yarwell is part of the Watersmete Benefice consisting of the villages of Apethorpe, Nassington, Thornhaugh, Wansford, Woodnewton and Yarwell. The Rev Jane Tailby is the Vicar of the Watersmete Benefice.  If you wish to contact Jane, she can  be contacted at the Vicarage at 34 Station Road in Nassington, or by phone 01780 782271.  Friday is her day off.

Services are held at 11.00am each Sunday, apart from the 3rd Sunday, when there is a Methodist Service at 3pm.  If you would like to arrange a funeral or wedding, please contact Rev Jane Tailby, see contact pages.  If you would like to arrange baptism, please contact Jan Downey.

The Village

Yarwell is a small rural parish with the village as a central hub but with a few outlying houses from half a mile to a mile away from the village.  The number of properties in the parish is 130, which has an estimated population of 340 people.  The age range of the villagers is from babies to 96 years.  The village is slowly growing with new properties being built as in-fills.  Some social housing was added about 8 years ago.

Aside from the church the only other public facilities in the village are The Angel pub and the village hall, which has undergone three extensions since it was built in 1967, the last one being in 2007.  The Church hires the Village Hall for its Annual Christmas Bazaar and as a venue for part of the Lent Course, as it has catering and toilet facilities, which are absent in the church and it also has better heating arrangements.  The Hall is used by the Yarwell and Nassington Britannia Brass Band weekly for band practice on Wednesday evenings.

In 1977 the villagers set up the Jubilee Committee to raise funds to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.  This was a successful event and raised an excess of money some of which was used to carry out the first extension to the Village Hall.  The Committee then later carried out fund raising to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.  Again an excess of money was raised and after a survey of the villagers some of it was used to pay for a clock to be installed on the church tower.  The Committee yet again carried out fund raising to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  Church members and villagers decorated the church windows with flowers and memorabilia celebrating the coronation, silver, gold and diamond jubilees.  The start of the celebrations was a service in church, which was attended by 57 parishioners.  In all of this activity church members played a significant part.  After 35 years the Jubilee Committee has decided to disband and has donated £853 to the church for the maintenance of the clock.

The village has a monthly newsletter which was originally started in the 80’s by the Reverend Rumbles, Vicar of Nassington and Yarwell.   It was then run independently of the church with financial backing of the Parish Council.  This is still the arrangement, but the Parish Council has not needed to support it financially for over 10 years.  The current editor and printer is a church member and other members provide articles or news items.

The Church

The church is over 800 years old and has a Norman plan.  It was a chapel of ease to Nassington.  It was originally larger than it is today as in 1782 the aisles and part of the roof fell after a terrific snowstorm.  Rebuilding involved removing the aisles and porches and filling in the nave arches with masonry and windows.  There are clear signs of the changes that have taken place within the interior over time.

The church received a bequest of £20,000 in January 2012.  A project is in hand to determine the feasibility of adding an external porch entrance.  We now have approval in principle to add an external porch from Historic England and are in the process of preparing a suitable design.

The PCC has recently carried out repairs on the tower and rainwater goods on the south side of the nave, as a result of receiving a grant from the Listed Place of Worship Roof Repair Fund.

Currently the church has seating accommodation for 80 people but when pressed the choir stalls and the south chancel aisle are used with a further 20 seats.

The Bells

Yarwell Church has 4 bells.  The smallest bell is the oldest bell in Yarwell church, and dates back to 1540, when Henry VIII was on the throne and he married Anne of Cleeves. Richard Seliok of Nottingham cast it, and it was the smallest and last of his bells. It is listed for preservation and is one of only 5 bells still ringing regularly. This means that when we hear the sound of this old bell we are hearing exactly what our forebears heard nearly 500 years ago!

Henry Penn cast the second bell in 1714, when George I ascended to the throne. He was a prolific bell founder and a well-known figure in the Peterborough area. Many of his bells survive in the local churches, such as at King’s Cliffe, at Cotterstock and at Barnack.  Henry Penn Walk on the northwest embankment of the River Nene was named after him in 1984.

Joseph Eayre cast the third bell in 1754, when George II was on the throne, at his bell foundry in St Neots, on the banks of the Great Ouse. Its entrance was in the shape of a bell! Old bells were brought here and recast. Many of them still hang in the churches of Huntingdonshire and neighbouring counties.

The tenor bell, to complete the 4, was added in 1926, when our current Queen was born. It was cast by Gillett and Johnston, a clockmaker and bell foundry based in Croydon, from 1844 until 1957. With their most successful and prominent period of activity as a bellfounder in the 1920s and 1930s, it was responsible for supplying many important bells for sites across Britain and around the world.