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Parish Church of St Mary and St Helena, Elstow

Description: Parish Church of St Mary and St Helena

Grade: I
Date Listed: 13 July 1964
English Heritage Building ID: 36697

OS Grid Reference: TL0490747396
OS Grid Coordinates: 504907, 247396
Latitude/Longitude: 52.1149, -0.4693

Location: 210 Church End, Elstow, Bedford Borough MK42 9XT

Locality: Elstow
County: Bedford
Country: England
Postcode: MK42 9XT

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Listing Text


8/60 Parish Church of St Mary
and St Helena

Parish church, formerly part of Abbey church belonging to Benedictine nunnery
founded c.1078 by Countess Judith of Huntingdon (niece of William I). Early
C12, C13, C15 and late C16. Extensively reworked 1881 by T. J. Jackson of
Bedford. Coursed rubble with ashlar dressings. Nave and aisles (also serving
as a chancel and chapels) and S vestry. 5 bay nave and aisles: these are nave
and aisles of Abbey church, E end being blocking wall dating from Dissolution
inserted in last bay before crossing (springing of arcades Eastwards still
visible). 3 bays to E have plain early C12 arcades with semi-circular arches
on rectangular piers with square moulded abaci. 2 bays to W have early C13
arcades with pointed arches, the NE one with dog-tooth decoration.
Clerestory, rebuilt 1881, has 6 windows each side, 3 to E round-headed, 3 to W
pointed-arched. All E windows are 1881 reworking. 1881 3-light pointed-
arched windows to aisles. 1881 Norman style N doorway, surmounted by c.l120
panel showing Christ flanked by Sts Peter and John, framed by columns
supporting round-headed arch. S aisle has C15 doorway above which is 2-light
square-headed window. W elevation dates from early C13. Pointed-arched
central doorway, surmounted by C15 square label. Above this is C16 4-light
window with square head. Doorway to L (N aisle) also pointed-arched, with
original lancet above. Stair turret to SW angle. S vestry: originally the
early C13 outer parlour. Square room with central octagonal pier, carrying
unusual 4-bay rib vault, some ribs breaking through into adjoining bay.
Interior: C15 octagonal font in N aisle, with traceried panels and one plain
side. Brasses include one to Margery Argentine, d.1427, and one to Elizabeth
Herwy, Abbess of Elstow, d.l527. Monuments include: one of alabaster in E
wall with kneeling figures of Humphrey Radcliffe (d.1566) and his wife Isabel
Harvey, facing each other and flanked by doric columns; one of marble to
Thomas Hillersdon, d.1656, in S aisle wall; another, also in S aisle, to John
Hillersdon, d.1684.

Listing NGR: TL0490747396

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.