Annesley Old Church
Annesley, Nottingham, NG15 0AS
The romantic ruins of this historic church and churchyard, registered as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, offer an idyllic location overlooking Annesley Hall and Park. The Grade I listed church, dating back to the 12th century, is a haven for plants such as the purple orchid and coral fungus, and wildlife including several bat species, green woodpeckers, and barn owls. The tranquil Grade II* listed park is nestled in the midst of Annesley Forest, where you can find the site of a former motte-and-bailey castle. Enjoy the extensive rural views across Annesley Park, with its many varieties of wildflowers and birdlife.
The history of the area
Members of the Chaworth Musters family, who lived at Annesley Hall, are buried inside the church and adjoining graveyard. Nottinghamshire author D.H. Lawrence also mentioned the church in his first novel The White Peacock (1911). Lord Byron was a regular visitor at the hall and church, and views of Annesley Park can be seen from nearby Diadem Hill – the assumed location of Byron’s poem, The Dream. Annesley is described by Byron as: “Where my thoughtless childhood stray’d…” and was an inspiration for much of his work. The church overlooks the Grade II listed Annesley Hall, which together with its connections to the Chaworth Musters and Byron families, was also linked to the Spencer and Churchill families.
The Annesley Old Church Project
The ruins of the church were restored through a three-year Heritage Lottery-funded project secured by Ashfield District Council with funding totalling £450,000 in 2011. Apart from the preservation of the site, the project also promoted community events and activities through the help of local residents and the Friends of Annesley Old Church. Creative writing workshops and arts events were held, as well as the Annesley Heritage Walks and research into the church history and surrounding district. Audio listening posts and information boards were also installed, so visitors can learn about the history of the church.
Opening times: The church and churchyard are open throughout the year.
How to get there
By car: Exit at junction 27 of the M1 and take the A608 exit onto Mansfield Road.
By train: Newstead train station (2.2 miles).