Ravensden All Saints

Retyped from cuttings of unknown date and provenance,
found in a scrapbook belonging to the late Mr J.W.McKie of Glebe Farm


" The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel 23 ft. 7 in. by 15 ft. 3 in., a nave 32 ft. by 18 ft. 8 in., with a north aisle 8 ft. wide and a west tower 10 ft. square. In the 12th century the church seems to have consisted of a nave, chancel and west tower, and early in the 13th century the nave was widened on the north side and an aisle added. In the 14th century the chancel was probably widened in order to be again central with the nave, and the east window is of that date; in the following century the walls of the aisle were heightened and new windows inserted, whilst the tower was rebuilt. The south wall of the chancel is of 18th century brickwork, with square windows, now fitted with modern Gothic tracery. The east window of the chancel is of fine early 14th century work, with three cinquefoiled lights and three spherical triangles in the head, and there is a square-headed 14th century window of two trefoiled lights in the north wall. The chancel arch is new, but the moulded corbels supporting the inner order are 14th century work re-used, and the base of the modern chancel screen is made of the 17th century altar rails.

The nave has a north arcade of three bays, c. 1260, in two chamfered orders with quatrefoiled piers; the capitals are moulded and all the bases chamfered except one, which has a filleted round on a square plinth with spurs at the angles. The south wall is built of rubble, with 14th century buttresses, and contains a 14th century window of two lights. There is a plain south doorway, the rear arch of which is made from a 12th century tympanum carved with a chequer pattern. The porch is in a ruinous condition, and is built of wood filled with red brick. The nave roof is plastered, but the ties and king-posts, with their struts, appear to be old.

The walling and buttresses of the north aisle are of 13th century date, but all windows are 15th century insertions. The north doorway is blocked, and consists of two pointed chamfered orders. The roof is now in two gables northward, an arrangement dating from the 17th century.

The tower has very plain 16th century belfry windows and parapets and a stair at the north-east angle; above the parapet rises a low spire. The west doorway is of the 15th century, like that of the north aisle, and above it is a late two-light uncusped window. The arch into the nave is of the 15th century, of two chamfered orders.

The 17th century communion table has panelled fronts and cupboards at each end. The font, at the south-west of the nave, is modern.

In the south wall is a monument to John Wigstaffe and his wife Eizabeth, 1718.

There are three bells: the treble of 1711; the second by Mears, 1847; and the tenor by Hugh Watts, inscribed 'Praise the Lorde 1603'.

The communion plate is all modern, and consists of a silver cup and paten and an electro-plated flagon.

The registers previous to 1812 are in five books: (1) has all entries, 1558 to 1640; (2) the same, 1644 to 1716; (3) baptisms and burials 1716 to 1763, marriages 1716 to 1754; (4) baptisms and burials 1763 to 1812; and (5) marriages 1756 to 1812.



The church of Ravensden was bestowed upon Newnham Priory by Simon de Beauchamp and included in the foundation charter c. 1166. With Goldington Church it remained in the possession of Newnham Priory until the Dissolution.

About 1218 a vicarage was instituted by Bishop Hugh of Wells. It was to consist in all the altar offerings, in tithes from the lands of Alan de Orewell and William Engayne in Ravensden, and in 10s. from the tenements of the church. This was estimated to produce an income of 5 marks, and if it should be less the archdeacon was to make up the difference from the goods of the church.

After the Dissolution the rectory and advowson were bestowed by the Crown in 1540 upon John Gostwick and Joan his wife. The grant included the manor of Ravensden, with which the advowson and rectory were held by the Gostwicks for nearly 200 years, and with them alienated in 1731 to Sarah Duchess of Marlborough, from whom they were purchased in 1774 by the Duke of Bedford. In 1854 Francis Duke of Bedford was patron, but the incumbent, the Rev. Thomas Syer, shortly afterwards purchased the advowson. Some time after 1877 his heirs alienated it to the Bishop of Ely, the present patron.

In 1547 there was 1 pightell in the hands of George Fitz Jeffrey, given for the maintenance of a lamp, worth 6d. yearly."

Back to History Index