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The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.

New St Mary's Church

By the 1840s the Old Church was unable to house the increased size of the congregation despite several attempts to accommodate more people by installing galleries and extra seating in the chancel. The population had increased from 706 in 1801 to 1066 in 1841.

John Mendham was the assistant Curate who succeeded as Rector on the death of William Pierce Nethersole in 1844. His solution to the problem was to build a new church.

Many meetings were held and at one the Earl de Grey, Patron to the church and chairman, promised "the stone and £200 besides" and promised to consult "Mr Smith". Thomas Smith of Hertford, was an architect and protégé of the Earl. The Earl, Thomas Philip, was the first president of Royal Institute of British Architects and was a keen amateur architect.

Rev. J. Mendham and Mrs. Mendham put forward £500. £600 came from other people and £700 was to be borrowed from the Public Works Loan office.

Plan

Plan

The new church was to be built on a plot of land opposite the Rectory in the High Street. It consisted of a nave with a southern aisle, a tower, a small chancel and a south porch.

The first stone was laid on 19th June 1849 and the finished church was consecrated on 10th July 1849.

It was built in the Gothic style and described by Nikolaus Pevsner as "an archaeologically convincing job, i.e. a church which the casual visitor might regard as genuine.

By 1879 the church was already in need of repair and was closed for a time.

In 1964 dry rot was discovered and an extensive scheme of works over the next five years, included re-roofing, was carried out. Services were held in the Parish Room but it unfortunately burnt down and the school was used.


The church as built

The church as built

The church being reroofed

The church being reroofed

The church now

The church now