The Parish of Child Okeford with Manston has two church buildings: the Parish Church of St Nicholas in Child Okeford and a Chapel of Ease in Manston, also dedicated to St Nicholas.
There has been a Christian presence in the communities of Child Okeford and Manston for over 750 years. Manston church dates from the 13th Century with a tower dated 1534. Records show the first church in Child Okeford was built around 1250 and the first Rector is recorded in 1297.
The churches occupy very different situations. Manston church is tucked away beside Manston House and surrounded by trees. There is a mausoleum next to the church built by a Captain Hanham, a previous owner of Manston house, in 1877 for his wife and mother-in-law, whilst he sought permission to build a crematorium in the garden. In 1882, Manston became the site of the first official cremation in the United Kingdom.
The Parish Church in Child Okeford sits right in the heart of the village elevated on a hill. The church works hard at reaching out into the community, holding a broad range of services to attract the old and young, traditional and modern, as well as holding monthly coffee mornings and other community events.
The church has strong links with Child Okeford School (also called St Nicholas). The school uses the church for services twice a term and the Rector visits weekly. Children from the school often make a “pilgrimage” to visit the church and learn more about it.
For further information on the villages of Child Okeford and Manston, please visit the Child Okeford Parish website, the Manston village website or purchase a copy of The Hill. This is a parish magazine that has all the local villages’ and church news. Contact Kate Partridge 01258 863695 or Richard Muffett 01258 860010 on how to subscribe.