All Saints Church

All Saints Church
Sutton-On-Trent
Newark
Nottinghamshire

History

The Meering Chapel and the Meryng Family

‘Meering’ was both a settlement close to the river Trent, and the illustrious family (more correctly ‘Meryng’) from which it took its name. The connection between Sutton on Trent village, All Saints Church and the Meryng family goes back many Centuries, to the middle of the 12th century.

The Meering Chapel is a distinctive feature of All Saints Church, featuring ornately carved stonework inside and out, in sharp contrast to the simple earlier style of the main Church building. The Chapel is separated from the main part of the Church (the north aisle) by a quite superb carved screen dating from around 1520 with gallery over, very rare in Britain and virtually unique in Nottinghamshire.

In 1909 a new organ was installed in All Saints virtually filling the Meering Chapel and for 100 years the interior of this splendid space was inaccessible. The organ has recently been relocated to the rear of the Church (where it now encourages us all to sing heartily to keep up) opening up the Meering Chapel in all its glory for the first time in 100 years. Church Architect Mark Goodwill-Hodgson has designed a fine oak and glazed screen to separate the Chapel from the Chancel and create a self contained space that can be used for services, meetings and a range of other uses.

There are some fascinating questions about Meering. It was once closely connected with Sutton and All Saints, but the site of the settlement is now on the far side of the river. How did that happen? Meering is said to be a village which became deserted (as with the village of Willoughby between Sutton and Norwell), and the Meering Chapel is reputed to be built from materials reclaimed from the house and Chapel at the deserted village.

Originally the settlement of Meering was on the West of the River Trent and connected by track to Sutton village. The river is believed to have changed course after a series of floods some time between 1279 and 1316, so that now the site of the settlement is on the East bank, marked by earthworks close to the area known as South Ing (grid ref SK813654).

Meering was probably a farm with associated buildings, and whilst it could be described as a hamlet it probably did not merit the title of village as we would know it. It was not listed as having any inhabitants in the Domesday book, but was known to exist by the mid 12th Century.

The Meryng family were resident at Meering until 1594, a map of Meering drawn in 1630 for the Earl of Newcastle shows the house standing. The Meering Chapel at All Saints was built in the late 15th or early 16th Century and the style is very similar to that of the Meering and Markham Chapels in Newark Parish Church, which were constructed just after 1500. Therefore it seems unlikely that materials were reclaimed for the construction of the Meering Chapel, rather that the Chapel was built to the specification of the Meryng family, Meering being then one of the manors of Sutton on Trent.

The will of Sir William Meryng (died 1537) made specific provision for the upkeep of the Chapel in the Parish Church.

White’s Directory of 1844 lists Meering as an extra – parochial farm of 700 acres, being low marshy grazing land, in the occupation of Mr John Catcliffe.
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