Woodhurst 17th Century church bell has been renovated

St John the Baptist Church in Woodhurst.

St John the Baptist Church in Woodhurst. - Credit: HUNTS POST

The village of Woodhurst holds a population of only 379 people and had always been known as an Anglo-Saxon ring village.

But an archaeological dig in 2001, before Harradine Close was built, discovered earlier inhabitants.  

During  the dig, skeletons, coins and pottery were found from Roman times and a Birmingham University Archaeological Field Unit came to the conclusion that it was a lower order Roman settlement. 

This was of particular importance as it gave a better understanding of the fen-edge landscape.  

Other Roman artefacts have been found around the village, including part of a ring and a pottery cremation. 

Anglo-Saxon remains were found in the Harradine Close site, and also in 1949 when Moot Way was being built.  

Here they found remains of an Anglo-Saxon hut with seven skeletons which were buried through the floor of the hut. It is thought these burials were plague victims.

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It is likely that the Anglo-Saxons created the ring more-or-less as it is today. 

The name Woodhurst has over the years been spelt Wuduhyrst, Wodehyrst, Woodhurste and Wood Hurst.

There are several explanations as to the original meaning of the name, but Hurst was Old English for ‘a wooded hill.’ 

The bus shelter in Woodhurst has been decorated to remember the fallen.

The bus shelter in Woodhurst has been decorated to remember the fallen. - Credit: HUNTS POST

St John The Baptist Church in Woodhurst also has an interesting history, it is not known when the first church was built in the village.

The oldest part of the present church dates from the 12th century.  

This is the north wall, which has a late 12th Century doorway and the south aisle was built in the late 14th Century.

There are four bays with pointed arches and round columns with moulded bases and capitals separating this aisle from the nave of the church.  

These columns were at one time brightly painted and evidence of this can be seen if you look carefully. 

A consecration cross has been scratched into the column nearest to the altar in the south aisle.

In the window nearest to this altar there is a late 14c piscine with an octofoil basin.

The pepper-pot bell turret is early 17th Century, there are three bell pits, but only one bell made by W Haulsey of St Ives dated 1624.

This bell has recently been renovated during the Covid-19 pandemic, so that it sounds again.

Woodhurst, like most villages, had an old post office.

Woodhurst, like most villages, had an old post office. - Credit: HUNTS POST