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All Saints Church

All Saint's Church, Church Street, Little Shelford
"The church of All Saints, formerly belonging to the de Freville family, lords of the manor, is a curious and interesting building of stone in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, embattled nave, south chapel, south porch and a western tower of the Decorated period containing 5 bells: the nave incorporates some Norman work: both chancel and nave have wagon roofs:
 
 



 
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The south chapel, which is on a higher level than the rest of the building, is entered by several steps and has an elaborate niche, piscina, bracket and a singular hagioscope: in the chapel are memorials to the Ingle family, afterwards Finch, and on the floor are two small but beautiful brasses, with effigies, to Robert de Freville, ob. 1393, and Claricia his wife; and to his son Thomas de Freville, ob. 1405, and Margaret his wife ob. 1410: in the chancel, under a richly moulded ogee canopy, with crockets and flanked by pinnacled buttresses, is a large and very beautiful altar tomb, of the Late Decorated period, with recumbent effigy in armour and inscription in Norman-French, to Sir John Freville, and near it a recessed monumental arch, of the Decorated period, now inclosing a Perpendicular doorway leading into the sacristy: the font is Decorated, and consists of an octagonal basin on four engaged shafts: the chancel stalls have traceried panels and a cresting, the panels being enriched with the ermine spots and crescents of the Freville arms: in the nave is a small brass effigy of a priest, assumed to represent John Cate, rector, ob. 1445: on one side of the arch leading to the chapel is a brass inscription, claiming the chapel as the property of the lords of the manor: there are two tombs of late date, one of which is to Francis Worsley, and bears his arms; the other displays the coat of Manning: near the porch are a number of coffin slabs of the 12th century, and a Runic slab, built into the wall: the church was thoroughly restored in 1878-9, at a cost of £1,686, and affords 150 sittings: in the churchyard is a cross, which has also been restored. The register of baptisms and burials dates from the year 1686; marriages, 1688." [Kelly's Directory - 1900]
 
All Saints Church, is built of field stones with stone dressings, and consists of a chancel with north vestry, a nave with a south chapel and porch, and a west tower. Part of the nave north wall, including a doorway and window, survives from a 12th-century building, as until the mid 19th century did a cross wall between the chancel and nave, pierced by a pointed central opening, with two smaller blind side-arches. The chancel was rebuilt or remodelled in the late 13th century.
 
The vestry, the tower, and the south porch were added in the early 14th century, probably by Sir John de Freville (d. 1312) and his successors who may also have rebuilt the south wall of the nave. A new five-light east window was put in by Sir John (d. 1372) or his wife Ellen (d. 1380), (fn. 188) and in the early 15th century a south chapel was added, probably by Margaret, wife of Thomas Freville (d. 1405). In the mid 15th century the nave and tower were partly rebuilt and new five-light, squareheaded windows were put into the chancel. Some windows were blocked in 1638; (fn. 189) the west wall of the south chapel was rebuilt in brick in 1728 and the east end of the chancel was apparently rebuilt and the east window replaced in 1760. (fn. 190) By the mid 19th century the blind arches of the cross wall between nave and chancel had been pierced by square openings (fn. 191) and as a result that wall was insecure. It was taken down during restoration in 1854 and replaced with a large new chancel arch designed by Edward Walters of Cambridge. At the same time a squint between the south chapel and the chancel was filled in. (fn. 192) By 1873 further restoration was necessary: (fn. 193) it was undertaken in 1878–9 under the direction of R. R. Rowe. The chancel was largely rebuilt and given new east and south windows, the nave walls were repaired, and the roofs were rebuilt in the style of the old ones. The south doorway was renewed and a new porch built. (fn. 194) The tower was restored, also by Rowe, c. 1884, and again in 1950 when other repairs were also undertaken. (fn. 195) (From the Victorian County History of Cambridgeshire

From the 17th century the rector was often also lord of the manor and lived in the manor house, as in 1731. (fn. 165) The rectory was kept in good repair and let out. (fn. 166) In 1858 the old rectory, a long, low building with a deep roof and dormer windows, was demolished and a large new brick and stone house built in a Gothic style on the same site by J. E. Law. (fn. 167) That house, in 1980 called Priesthouse, was sold in 1962 (fn. 168) after a new rectory had been built to its north-east.

Thomas Eyton, rector of Little and Great Shelford, was licensed not to reside in 1337. (fn. 169) In 1378 besides the rector there were three chaplains in the parish, and two were recorded there in 1406. (fn. 170) In the early 16th century there was a Corpus Christi guild in Little Shelford. (fn. 171) Roland Swinburne, rector 1540–57, was also master of Clare College and held a prebend of Salisbury. (fn. 172) George Fuller, rector 1561–79, was non-resident; he also held Hildersham, and lived at Christ's College where he was a fellow. (fn. 173) His successor John Scurfield was also chaplain to the earl of Essex and rector of Hertingfordbury (Herts.). He was non-resident in 1579, and in 1590 employed a curate at Little Shelford. (fn. 174) In the late 16th and early 17th century a number of parishioners, especially the Bankes family, failed to attend church. (fn. 175)

William Alabaster, presented in 1627, was a Latin poet and divine who had been a convert to Catholicism earlier in his career. (fn. 176) Gilbert Wigmore, rector 1641–65, and his son-in-law Roger Gillingham, rector 1709–49, both owned the manor. (fn. 177) William Wells, rector c. 1665–75, was also president of Queens' College, vice-chancellor of the University, rector of Sandon (Essex), and archdeacon of Colchester. (fn. 178) A Mr. Hurst, rector in the later 18th century, also held Great Shelford and employed a curate for the two parishes, himself living at Boxworth. The curate held one Sunday service and thrice yearly sacraments in 1775. (fn. 179) Martin Hogg, rector in 1802, was chaplain to the earl of Cholmondeley. (fn. 180) His successor Henry Finch, rector 1806– 49, also held Great Shelford and Longstanton, (fn. 181) and in 1807 lived mostly in Cambridge. He held alternate Sunday morning and evening services, and quarterly communions attended by c. 12 people. He was resident at Little Shelford by 1825. (fn. 182)

James Edmund Law, rector 1852–92, was presented by his father, and, although licensed for non-residence in 1855, lived at Little Shelford from 1859. (fn. 183) By 1873 he was holding two Sunday services and monthly communions, and there was also a Sunday school. (fn. 184) His successor E. T. S. Carr, rector until 1929, was also a fellow, bursar, and president of St. Catharine's College. By 1897 he had introduced a choir and a parochial library. (fn. 185) After his death the benefice was united with Newton, but rectors have continued to live at Little Shelford. (fn. 186) [Victoria County History of Cambridgeshire]

Bell ringing at All Saints: http://www.ely.anglican.org/bells/cambridg/lshelfor.htm

 
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