Our History

The History of St Peter’s Church, Ravenshead

(Newark Archdeaconry, Newstead Deanery)

This modern individual church was built in 1971/2 and dedicated on 22 April 1972. It was designed by Colin Shewring (1914-1994) of Kings Lynn, Norfolk. It features an elliptical shape, designed to be suitable for contemporary liturgical, educational and social activities.

The church is brick built with a catenary timber shell roof hanging from a ring beam supported by a ring of columns. The roof was once described as “Pringle shaped”.

The church is located within its own grounds sited on Sheepwalk Lane within the village. Ravenshead is a popular residential village located in the heart of Nottinghamshire within “Robin Hood Country”. The location is shown on the attached map.

The name Ravenshead was first recorded on maps in the 12th and 13th century.

The Ravenshead community was formed in 1966, by the amalgamation of three hamlets: Kighill, Larch Farm and Fishpool, all of which were sparsely populated in woodland, served by narrow roads and tracks.

Originally, the only church in this area was an Ebenezer Methodist Chapel, on Chapel Lane, which held just 12 people, and was believed to be the smallest chapel in Nottinghamshire. Other worshippers went to St Marys Church in Blidworth or St. James Church, Papplewick.

Later, in the 1940’s, Mrs Winifred Kingstone of this area, offered her home for services of Holy Communion, initially on a monthly basis.

In August 1943 Rev Walter Warr, the vicar (1940 – 1956) of St Mary of the Purification, Blidworth, held a meeting to discuss the purchase of the current church site which was later acquired at a price of £600. This enabled the first church to be built, a sectional building purchased from the Ministry of Works in November 1946, and erected by its founder members. The church was named “St Peter’s”, then within a hamlet known as Larch Farm, and was dedicated by Dr F.R. Barry, Bishop of Southwell on 29th June 1948.

This original sectional building served the growing village with the dual purpose of worship and social life. Bishop Barry hoped it would be a “missionary depot building up a vital Christian community standing for everything good in the lives of men and women of the area”.

Planning consent for a future church building on the present site was given by Nottinghamshire County Council in 1956. Detailed planning permission was given for the erection of the newly designed church in 1969.

The new church foundation was laid in February 1971 and by May 1971 the church had been renamed St Peter’s Church, Ravenshead. The village became an ecclesiastical parish in its own right in November 1971 and following construction, the building was dedicated on 22nd April 1972 by the Right Reverend Denis Wakeling, Lord Bishop of Southwell. The Vicar, Reverend Barrie Hodges, stated at the dedication ceremony “The purposes that have led to it being this shape have been our concern to create a setting and the facilities for the contemporary liturgical and educational activities of the Church, and the desire to have social space close at hand for the use of the congregation around service time”

When the existing Church was completed the former church building became the church hall and was used for that purpose for many years.

The church hall was refurbished in 1975 with a new brick front elevation, linking the hall and the church with a walkway formed between the church and the hall at the rear. The hall was also enlarged with a cloakroom, kitchen and toilets added. In addition, a car park was laid to the road frontage serving the church and the hall. Prior to this the church was approached over open rough ground.

After many years of service the original Church building /Church hall was demolished and a new purpose built building known as The Centre at St. Peter’s was constructed in 2015.

The Centre at St Peter’s offers modern accommodation for church and community groups to meet, to have a party, to meet with friends over coffee or for business meetings. It is equipped with flexible spaces to hire, accommodating up to 150 people. It is used by community groups, after school clubs, training providers, art/music groups, party venue, children’s birthday parties, business meetings of all types and business clubs and has a 5 star food safety award for kitchen and service facilities.

To book the Centre https://thecentreatstpeters.co.uk/our-facilities

St. Peter’s Church Architecture

The fabric of the church was built in 1972. It is an elliptical shape; brick built and features a centrally unsupported curved/ catenary timber shell roof hanging from the ring beam, having its lowest point on the central axis behind the altar.

The church is light, airy and spacious, dominated by the timber shell roof which appears to sweep down to the altar from both the sides and the rear. There are four porthole style roof windows to let in daylight over the altar. The curved walls within the church are designed for acoustical qualities.

The altar space is two steps up from the main floor level. Communicants can receive the Eucharist around four sides of the altar. This area is defined by a low brick wall surmounted by a teak rail.

The whole baptistery sanctuary is linked to that of the altar, but distinguished by being one step down from the main floor level. There is a low L – shaped wall on two sides and the addition of an L shaped seat for the family.

The pews, originally, being in two blocks of five rows, are Columbian pine; these are ramped as the floor slopes downwards from back to front. A further row of pews in matching wood was added behind the fifth row of the right hand side block in 1983. At that time, 16 individual linked seats attached to the rear wall of the church were also added in matching wood. The choir stalls, are also in Columbian pine. The book rests (in matching wood), attached behind the choir stalls were added at a later date.

A circulation space allows seating accommodation to be varied from 140 to 280 people.

To the left of the church lobby is the church lounge, a comfortable well-furnished room used for Wednesday morning Holy Communion and by the Ravenshead community for a wide variety of meetings and social gatherings. When the church was opened in 1972, the room, now known as the church lounge, was simply an extension of the foyer area at a lower level, accessed by central steps, and a wheelchair ramp to the right. In June 1997 the steps were boxed in with a cupboard formed over, and a timber and glazed partition was erected between the church lobby and the lounge. A pedestrian door was fitted by the original disabled ramp access and this became the sole access to the new lounge.

The toilet facilities were renovated and extended to provide facilities to include the disabled in 2009.

The original vicarage bungalow required replacement, and a new purpose built house for the vicar was constructed in 2006.

We have recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the building.