History of St Nicholas’ Church

There has been a church in Sturry since 690 AD.

The present stone building dates from the Norman times: the dark, rectangular nave with a square tower at the west end.

In 1200 AD, it was viewed as too dark and narrow, so the two aisles were built and arches knocked into the walls. The remains of the Norman windows can still be seen above the arches.

From the 1400s until 1812 AD, Sturry actually had a spire – like St. Mary’s Church in Fordwich! It fell down during a violent storm, and the current tower was built.

Outside the church, lots of eroded carved faces decorate the ends of windows. An abbot and a king are at the west end of the church, near the main door.

Sturry Churchyard

There are over 300 memorial stones in the churchyard. The oldest legible stone which still stands outside records young William Picard, who died aged 11 months in 1669. However, an earlier stone which records Robert Dadd who died in 1640 is kept in the porch.

The latest burial is of Alice Stokes in 1925. Later burials are usually in Sturry Cemetery.

Bells and music

  • Sturry got five bells in 1622, and a sixth in 1904
  • Fordwich got four bells between 1624 and 1633.
  • Early photographs of Westbere church show a square bell tower – now there is a bell cote with a chime of three small bells, cast around 1853.

There has been a band of musicians at the church since at least 1790.
The first organ at Sturry was installed in 1816, but replaced in 1950 with the current one. Westbere got an organ in 1887.