St Nicholas Church Oddington ‘Doom’ Wall painting

Just over a mile from us is the 11th century St Nicholas Church in Oddington. The church is located about 1/4 mile along Church Lane from the centre of Lower Oddington. (Don’t get mixed up and go to the larger modern, 18th century parish church on the high street). This is a charming church in a rural setting; however what makes it special is the largest ‘Doom’ painting in Britain. This, and the other wall paintings are 13th century. Many medieval churches featured large colourful paintings which communicated religious themes to a largely illiterate community. The theme of a Doom painting is The Last Judgment and Jesus can be seen flanked by the apostles whilst angles are sounding trumpets to awaken the dead for their judgment; the good are awaiting admittance to heaven whilst the sinners are being hauled down to hell where a Satan and his evil imps lie in wait.

The church has no electricity so Services are held here in summer only and there is a very special candlelit Christmas Eve Service when the whole path and the entire church is lit by hundreds of candles. The candlelight brings out the detail of the paintings as well as generating an atmosphere that transports one to ancient times. The true meaning of Christmas is brought to the congregation.

Our local history tells us that this old church along with part of the village was more or less abandoned due to the plague when the villagers rejected this tainted area and moved up the road to where the new church lies.

Although the mural had been whitewashed over during the Reformation, due to its rejection it did not suffer from Victorian restoration which would have probably plastered over the paintings. Fortunately the vicar Thomas Hodson gently restored the church in 1912. The paintings were professionally and carefully restored in 1970.

The churchyard tells its own story of the generations of local families including our own.

The church is generally open but it is best to check by phoning 01451 830203 or 01451 830224.

St Nicholas church is part of the Evenlode Vale Diocese which consists of seven parishes which provide United Services and events for the area. We always have details of the Services.