The parish church of Saint Lawrence, Whitwell, is typical of the style of church built within 100 years after the Battle of Hastings. Most of the present church dates from the 12th century when the Normans built the nave with the round arches and massive pillars, the clerestory, the tower (except for the 15th century belfry), the great chancel arch and most of the chancel. The transepts were added between 1300 and 1350 to give the church the shape of the cross. The church is built from stone quarried locally and from quarries on the outskirts of the parish; it is Grade II listed.
It has all the characteristics of Norman architecture, namely huge round pillars, beautiful semi-circular arches, high roof and a square tower. During the 14th century the church underwent a number of alterations, as well as acquiring additional features. The side aisles were enlarged and the windows are of the 14th century perpendicular period. The two transepts were added, the height of the tower was increased and the South porch was reconstructed.
St Lawrence Church has a pleasant, contented, even happy atmosphere. Stand anywhere in the church and there is always a new perspective to be discovered. For example, from the sanctuary rail westward there is the long view down the nave, ending in the imposing organ pipes, or there is the opposite view, from Tower screen, looking towards the altar, viewing the splendid crossing arch, the white chancel walls and the great East window. In the nave the massive pillars and robust capitals, eight centuries old, support the rare clerestory windows and lofty vault with its wooden tie beams. There are other views at various points in the interior, for example, from near the Rector’s stall there is a glimpse of the Manners’ tomb, or from the crossing you can see what remains of the medieval rood loft.
Part of St Lawrence’s charm is that it is not too large or rambling; it is of adequate dimensions and yet retains an intimate atmosphere.
1st Sunday at 8.30am – Holy Communion
2nd Sunday at 10.30am – Holy Communion and Sunday School
3rd Sunday at 8.30am – Holy Communion
4th Sunday at 10.30am – Family Communion
5th Sunday at 10.30am – Holy Communion (Joint Benefice Service rotating between Whitwell, Creswell and Elmton churches – please refer to services and events)
1st & 3rd Wednesdays – Said Communion