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Melchbourne Church Architecture

The church from the south east February 2014
The church from the south east February 2014

At first glance the church of Saint Mary Magdalene appears to be an 18th century creation. It was severely remodelled in or around 1779 but some medieval work remains. By the time Sir Nikolaus Pevsner wrote the Bedfordshire volume of his Buildings of England series in 1968 the removal of plaster had revealed some of the medieval fabric.

 The west tower February 2014
The west tower February 2014

The church is built of coursed limestone rubble with ashlar dressings. It comprises chancel, nave, north and south aisles, north porch and west tower.

The western part of the south wall of the chancel February 2014
The western part of the south wall of the chancel February 2014

The first known rector was instituted in 1237. The listing of the building states that the blocked windows in the south wall of the chancel are 14th century and that a blocked window in the west wall of the north aisle is from the same century. A brass inscription in the south aisle dates from 1377.

 The church from the north-east February 2014
The church from the north-east February 2014

Dr G K Brandwood stated to former County Archivist Chris Pickford, when compiling Volume 77 of Bedfordshire Historical Record Society: Bedfordshire Churches in the 19th Century: Parishes H-R that the chancel is out of line with the nave and that its north wall narrows in thickness towards the top.The wall of the north aisle and the tower are both essentially medieval. He considered the blocked windows to be 13th century in date.

 The north porch February 2014
The north porch February 2014

The north porch is 17th century. It was established in 1985 that it came from Woodford House in Northamptonshire and dates between 1620 and 1660.

The north porch from the north-east February 2014
The north porch from the north-east February 2014