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St. Michael’s Church, Little Coates

The oldest part of the Church is Early English, which is known since there is a pillar supporting the south aisle roof which is 13th century.  The small Church was rebuilt in 14th-15th centuries, though an extension built in the early 1900’s made the church much bigger.  The older part, including the ancient nave, along with the south aisle and chancel (now a side chapel) is clear to spot with its lower roof and smaller windows.  The ancient chancel is now used as a Lady Chapel, but before the extension in the 1900s, this is where the main altar would have been.

In 1910, an east window was installed here (in the current Lady Chapel) by the artist Herbert W. Bryans to the memory of Joseph Smethurst. The window shows ‘The Agony in the Garden’ as the Angel succours Jesus with the cup.  Jesus’ disciples to the right are asleep and Judas (complete with a black halo) and the soldiers are approaching from the left.  In the lower right corner is a small dog, which is the signature of the artist.

The Church was extended in 1912-1914 by the building of the north part of the church, including the tower, the newer nave and chancel. They were built out of a bequest by Joseph Chapman, a timber merchant who is buried in the graveyard. Sir Walter Tapper, a renowned church architect, built them in a 13th century style. Unusually, part of this extension made to the Church included a new nave situated next to the church building, alongside what was then the current nave.  The newer nave was much longer than the previous one and results in the Church having a somewhat unusual shape, being rather wide on the south side.  This addition of a longer nave adjacent to a smaller one, meant it was difficult when in the ancient nave to see the altar at the front of the newer nave.  As a result, the space when you enter the Church from the south door which is the ancient nave is now used as a hall space; whereas the 1900’s extension is used today for worship.

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