St Nicholas is a Grade I listed building in a rural conservation area. The original building was a wooden structure erected between 1078 and 1084 and was replaced with a stone building around 1084.
Alterations to the building were made in the 13th and 14th centuries and the brick tower was added in 1612. Originally six bells were installed in the tower, cast by members of the Knight family of Reading, between 1613 and 1642.
When the bells of Great Marlow were re-hung in 1640, the Hurst ringers were employed officially to test the work, the parishioners of Great Marlow paying their expenses. Over a hundred years later Hurst bell ringers were still in good form as a report in the Reading Mercury of August 15th 1779 shows: ‘At the ringing match on Wokingham church bells the hats were won by the Hurst Youths in their usual style, Reading 2nd, Mortimer 3rd and Binfield 4th’.
In 1911 the bells were re-hung in a new cast iron frame, replacing the old wooden frame. Two new bells, the treble and second, cast by Mears and Stainbank at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, were added at this time.
The tower has a peal of 8 bells with the ringing chamber on the ground floor accessed via a door in the tower.
The tower is listed in Dove’s Guide with the bells described as follows:
|Treble||4-2-3||F||27.50″||1911||Mears & Stainbank|
|2||4-2-16||E||28.00″||1911||Mears & Stainbank|
|3||5cwt||D||1634||Ellis I Knight|
|4||5¾cwt||C||c1630||Ellis I Knight|
|5||6¾cwt||Bb||1613||Henry I Knight|
|6||8½cwt||A||c1630||Ellis I Knight|
|7||10½cwt||G||1642||Ellis I Knight|
|Tenor||14-1-16||F||44.50″||1639||Ellis I Knight|
|Clock||0-2-10||A||13.00″||1962||Mears & Stainbank|
Note that the bell listed as “Unused” is not hung, and is sitting in the clock room floor.