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Aspley Heath Church Architecture

 

Saint Michaels Church in March 2007
Saint Michael's Church in March 2007

Although St.Michael's church is in Aspley Heath the parish is known as Woburn Sands, which is confusing enough, but much more so when the fact that Woburn Sands is in a different county (Buckinghamshire), most of which is in the Diocese of Oxford rather than St.Albans is taken into account! Aspley Heath was created a civil parish from part of Aspley Guise in 1883 but the ecclesiastical parish of Woburn Sands was created earlier, in 1867.

Saint Michaels church about 1878
Saint Michael's church about 1878

The church was designed by the architect Henry Clutton who also designed the new church in Woburn, and was completed in 1868. A large percentage of the money came from the will of Aspley Guise Rector John Vaux Moore who left £5,000 in his will, proved in 1863, for construction of a church on The Heath. The site was provided by the Duke of Bedford, who owned most of the parish. He also provided the vicarage.

Clutton's design included a chancel, nave with aisles, south porch and a small stone spire over the west end. Clutton's architectural style is very distinctive and his large rose window dominates the chancel. Original fittings included a clock with projecting dial by Thwaites and an old organ presented by a local man. Gas lighting was installed.

Most of the notes on the structural history of the church can be found in greater detail in Bedfordshire Historical Record Society Volume number 80 of 2001 Bedfordshire Churches in the Nineteenth Century: Part IV: Appendices and Index put together by former County Archivist Chris Pickford from numerous sources some held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service and some held elsewhere or published.