Fyfield, St Nicholas
St Nicholas Fyfield is a medieval church, listed Grade II*, part of the Upper Kennet Benefice. It stands on the southern edge of the small village.
The nave and chancel date originally from the thirteenth century, the handsome west tower from the fifteenth century and the nave roof possibly from the same time.
The church was extensively restored in 1849-50 under the supervision of the architect Charles Henry Gabriel. Under Gabriel’s supervision the old church was refenestrated, a north aisle was added and the chancel was re-roofed and given a new east wall.
The present character of the interior is largely due to this nineteenth century intervention, which saw the chancel completely refitted, the nave given a new pulpit, reading desk and benches and the building re-floored with encaustic tiles.
Recent research reveals an interesting pilgrimage link with Fyfield. The church, along with others in the Benefice, was used by pilgrims en route to Bristol, whence they took sherry boats to Spain, and continued their walk to Santiago de Compostela, then onwards to Rome and Jerusalem.
Bat numbers in the church are declining, with 2018 and 2019 surveys finding only 8 and 4 Brown long-eared bats respectively. When bat numbers were higher, the community struggled with the extra time needed to clean.
The significance of the church lies mainly in its medieval fabric, and this is not significantly impacted by bats.
There is visible urine spotting on the timber fittings of the nave and chancel, and on the nineteenth century tiled floor coverings.
The project funded storage cupboards and a leaflet stand, both made by a local carpenter. It also commissioned and funded a timber survey. Various events were financially supported by the project, including a pub quiz and fundraising pony rides.