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Westoning Church Architecture

 Westoning church from the south-east August 2009
Westoning church from the south-east August 2009

The former Department of Environment listed Saint Mary Magdalene's church in 1961. It stated that the church has 12th century origins, being rebuilt in the 14th century with 15th century additions and alterations.

 12th century carvings in the wall of the south aisle February 2010
12th century carvings in the wall of the south aisle February 2010

Former County Archivist Christopher Pickford noted in his Bedfordshire Churches in the 19th Century, Parishes S-Y (Bedfordshire Historical Records Society Volume 79, published in 2000) that there are 12th century carved stones built into the masonry. He also notes that the font is 13th century, presumably a survival from the earlier church.

The font February 2010
The font February 2010

The first known vicar was one William, in 1245. Common sense, however, suggests that there was a church here in Anglo-Saxon times. These were usually wooden buildings and were generally replaced within a hundred years of the Norman Conquest of 1066, so a 12th century date for the origins of the present building is perfectly logical.

 Westoning church porch and tower August 2009
Westoning church porch and tower August 2009

The church is built of coursed rubble which is a mixture of ironstone, limestone and cobblestones though it has ashlar dressings. The roofs are made of clay tiles.

 Westoning church from the west August 2009
Westoning church from the west August 2009

The medieval church comprised a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, a south porch and a west tower. The chancel is the only part of the building not to have an embattled parapet.

 Head on the north side of the west door of Westoning church August 2009
Head on the north side of the west door of Westoning church August 2009

As noted above most of the present building is 14th century. The walls of the two aisles were raised in the 15th century. The tower and its arch inside the church are both 15th century, suggesting that the earlier building may have simply made do with an external bellcote. The north vestry is a 19th century creation.

Head on the south side of the west tower west window January 2010
Head on the south side of the west tower west window January 2010