THE TRENT AND DERWENT
serving the communities of
Aston on Trent, Weston on Trent, Elvaston, Shardlow
Swarkestone, Barrow upon Trent and Twyford
History of St. Andrew's, Twyford
Whoever first built a church here was a wise man. It lies less than two hundred yards from the River Trent, which bursts its banks two or three times a year, but never, it seems, has the church been flooded.
The first building was probably of Saxon date, and made of wood or mud and wattle. The present building has seen various stages of development. Today the furnishings are comparatively modern because in 1910 there was a fire which destroyed all the pews, and the pulpit, as well as the plaster then on the nave walls, and the wooden ceiling. After this new oak pews were presented by Mr. (later Sir) William Towle, son of the village blacksmith who rose to prominence on the Midland Railway. The pulpit and prayer desk were made and presented by the then incumbent. The walls were stripped to reveal the stone and the eighteenth century ceiling was removed.1967 saw another reproofing, and a new altar, made of oak from the local Harpur-Crewe estate.
The west end is one of the oldest parts of the building, the lower part of the tower dates from about AD1200 and the upper part and spire from about 1300 in 1821 considerable damage was done when the spire was struck by lightning. There are three bells, two date from the seventeenth century and all three were recently refurbishing and re-hung and are rung every week for services.
In the south-west corner of the nave at eye level there is a curiously incised stone whose marks have never been deciphered, however some scholars think it could be of Saxon origin. Between the nave and chancel is a wall, which is the oldest part of the building with a chancel arch of early 12th century origin and has well preserved chevron decoration. The Altar rail is made of Jacobean Oak and some of the organ pipes date from 1790
There are one or two important families buried in the churchyard, one being the Hudson family who claim to be descendents of Henry Hudson the navigator of Hudson Bay and Hudson River fame in Canada.
There has been a river crossing at Twyford since Roman times at least. The name means “ two fords” and these would have been essential to all travellers before the road bridges were built. Local tradition tells of food being handed out to wayfarers from a window in an adjacent farmhouse, which was administered by monks from a religious house of the Knights Hospitalliers nearby. A chain ferry operated until it was destroyed by floods in 1963 and the posts that carried the chain on either bank can still be seen.
Now Twyford has no commercial connections. Most of the people are farmers or in some way connected with the land albeit it the new families coming into Twyford work further afield and commute. An increasing number of people attend Saint Andrew’s from outside the parish, partly because of the urban sprawl, and partly because the Book of Common Prayer is still used for all of the services. The congregation, therefore, is well mixed, and the maintenance of the building is in their hands- a never ending labour of love, that will be passed onto the generations that follow.