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History of Nettlestead

Nettlestead comes from the Old English ‘netele’ meaning a ‘nettle’ and ‘hām-stede’ as a ‘homestead, the site of a dwelling’; therefore a ‘nettle homestead’. A record in the 9th century shows Nettlestead as Netelamstyde, and the Domesday Book chronicles it as Nedestede.

Nettlestead parish church is a Grade I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin. The Normans built it in the late 11th century with the addition of a tower in the 13th century. Following a fire around 1420, the de Pympe’s family – Lords of the manor – demolished the church, with only the tower remaining, and rebuilt it as a simple nave and chancel. In the 15th century, the Agincourt veteran, Reginald de Pympe, - impressed with stained glass advances in France – installed an enormous stained glass window. In 1700, Philip Wightman cast and hung two bells in the tower. In 1798, Edward Hasted described St Mary’s church as a ‘small but handsome building, with a low pointed tower or steeple. There are good remains of painted glass in it’. In 1838, Thomas Mears II added a tenor bell. Restoration took place throughout the Victorian era with the raising of the tower by 4.5 feet for an organ gallery in 1841, removal of the chancel lath and plaster ceiling, and pews from the nave wall in 1858, north chancel windows in 1867 and a new organ two years later. In 1885, Mears and Stainbank added a treble with another treble in 1909 to complete five. Whitechapel augmented the bells to six with a treble in 2005…. more