Skip Navigation
 
 

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community archives > Swineshead > Swineshead Church Repairs and Additions

Swineshead Church Repairs and Additions

 Interior looking east May 2008
Interior looking east May 2008

The following information is taken from former County Archivist Chris Pickford's Bedfordshire Historical Record Society volume Bedfordshire Churches in the 19th Century: Parishes S-Y. Swineshead was in the county of Huntingdonshire until 1896 and did not enter the Archdeaconry of Bedford until 1914.

Clock mechanism displayed in the western half of the south aisle May 2008
Clock mechanism displayed in the western half of the south aisle May 2008

An inventory of 1552 survives, which was transcribed and published in 1906. It records three bells, one of which was recast about 1590. The number of bells was increased by two in 1629 and the old clock, now displayed in the south aisle, dates to around this time.

 Interior looking east about 1900
Interior looking east about 1900 [Z50/120/22]

A beam in the roof carries the date 1706 which may indicate that repairs were carried out at this time, it also carries the initials IH and WD, presumably the churchwardens at the time. In 1748 the Archdeacon ordered that a: "plough and rubbish" be removed, that the walls be cleaned, the roof of "Mid Isle" repaired, the belfry paved and the chancel roof repaired.

 Chancel east window May 2008
Chancel east window May 2008

James Banks Hollingworth, Archdeacon of Huntingdon, recorded the state of the church in the mid-19th century in a notebook. In 1838 the lead of the chancel roof was "about to be repaired" and a date of 1841 on the eastern beam of the nave roof presumably refers to these repairs. In 1847 Hollingworth noted that the church was being repaired but it was still unfinished by 1852, although the chancel was in good repair. By 1853 the steeple had been re-pointed and the seats in the main body of the church were about to be repaired. It seems as if this work of about 1838 to about 1855 was the main Victorian restoration of the church. The clear glass of the east window was replaced in 1872 and in 1880 the startling stained glass depicting the Crucifixion was inserted as a memorial to Rev.William Airy (rector from 1845 until his death in 1874).

South aisle looking east in 1981 
South aisle looking east in 1981 [Z50/120/15]

The tower and spire were repaired between 1907 and 1910 [P96/2/2/2] and the roofs in 1935 [P96/2/2/4]. Further repairs were undertaken between 1957 and 1974 [P96/2/2/7-13]. Sadly the bells were stolen from the church whilst it was being repaired in 1969 and were not replaced for twenty years, being dedicated on 21st December 1989.

Capital base in the north wall of the chancel May 2008
Capital base in the north wall of the chancel May 2008