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Parish Church of All Saints, Denton and Caldecote

Description: Parish Church of All Saints

Grade: II
Date Listed: 13 December 1957
English Heritage Building ID: 400233

OS Grid Reference: TL1501987848
OS Grid Coordinates: 515019, 287848
Latitude/Longitude: 52.4765, -0.3079

Location: Denton, Cambridgeshire PE7 3SD

Locality: Denton and Caldecote
Local Authority: Huntingdonshire District Council
County: Cambridgeshire
Country: England
Postcode: PE7 3SD

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Listing Text

TL 18 NE
5/3 Parish Church of All

Ruined Church. C12 and C13 elements, substantially rebuilt 1629-1671. Restored 1865. Abandoned early 1960s.

MATERIALS: Coursed limestone rubble and flint dressed with limestone blocks of Ketton and possibly Barnack stone.

PLAN: This ruined church comprises the remains of a chancel, a nave, a tower at the SW corner and a N porch.

EXTERIOR: This church is roofless. The walls to the nave and chancel survive to full height, including the E gables. There is a substantial buttress at the SW corner of the nave and a staged buttress in the S wall, in line with the chancel arch. The nave has an offset plinth to its walls and has opposing N and S doorways: the N doorway has a roughly segmental head formed in reused stone with a rolled drip course and the S doorway is similarly detailed but appears undisturbed. Only the bases of the N porch walls remain. To the SW corner of the nave is a square, unbuttressed tower, which is set on a low plinth and appears to survive to its full height. The windows in the north and south walls of the nave and chancel, which are from the C17, have timber lintels and retain their vertical ferramenta bars: those of the nave windows are of three-lights with a transom and hollow-chamfered members, and those of the chancel are of two-lights, with plain chamfering and no transom. In the W wall of the nave is a splayed window opening without divisions and with three remaining vertical iron ferramenta bars. The chancel E window, which is later insertion, has triple lancets under a square label, with a wider and taller centre light. The tower has a deeply splayed W window with a semicircular head and a two-light belfry opening with semicircular heads to the lights is visible on the N wall.

INTERIOR: A considerable amount of wall plaster remains with incised lining-out to represent ashlar blocks. A C13 chancel arch has a single chamfer, set on abaci and with square reveals to the opening. The N wall of the chancel has a blocked door opening with a timber lintel which may be contemporary with the windows. The W wall of the nave has a stone ledge along its base. The tower has a small, square headed, stone door opening with a timber frame, the inner jambs of which appear to be medieval and must have supported an earlier lintel or arch. The tower also has at least one surviving upper floor, which appears to sit on an offset or ledge.

HISTORY: A Church on this site is mentioned in the Doomsday Survey of 1086. The chancel arch and its responds are of C12/C13 and may be predated by the tower, but the present building is largely the result of rebuilding campaigns of 1629 and 1665 by the antiquary, Sir Robert Bruce Cotton, 1st Baronet (1571-1631) and his grandson, Sir John (1621-1702). Sir Robert was born here, but lived in London and at nearby Conington (where the Cottons are buried). A noted antiquary, MP, courtier and collector of manuscripts (the Cotton Library is an important collection within the British Library, Cotton rebuilt the church in a contextual medieval revivalist manner but with mullioned windows, a characteristic fusion of the time. Sir John was responsible for the nave and chancel, in 1629; the north porch was added in 1665 and the tower modified (if not rebuilt) in 1671 re the VCH. The church was restored in 1865, but deteriorated in the mid C20 and was abandoned in the 1960s, following which it became a ruin.

Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England: An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire (1926), pp 65-66.
Nikolaus Pevsner, Buildings of England: Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough (1968), p234
The Victoria History of the County of Huntingdon, Vol 3 (1936) pp 153-154
New Oxford DNB: 'Sir Robert Bruce Cotton'.

This ruined church is designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural: an interesting example of early Stuart church rebuilding, in a mediaval revival manner, which retains some early fabric
* Historical: of special interest for its connection with Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (1571-1631), a noted antiquary, MP, courtier and collector, who was born at Denton and who carried out a major programme of rebuilding here in the early years of Charles I's reign
* Associational: of special interest as the principal building in its ancient churchyard setting, possessing very considerable picturesque and antiquarian interest.

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.