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Shillington Church Architecture

The church seen from Church Street March 2014
The church seen from Church Street March 2014

All Saints church stands on top of a prominent hill and this, together with its size, leads to its nickname of the Cathedral of the Chilterns. It is built of coursed ironstone rubble with ashlar dressings, though parts of the tower and other patches have been repaired in red brick.

 The church from the north-west March 2014
The church from the north-west March 2014

The church comprises a chancel and nave which are separated only by screens and a high arch internally with no outward sign of the transition. This gives to some, the impression of a secular medieval hall. There are also north and south chapels, north and south aisles, a south porch and a west tower.

 The crypt March 2014
The crypt March 2014

There was a church here in Norman times, held by Ramsey Abbey [Huntingdonshire]. The oldest surviving part of the church appears to be the crypt. This is at the east end, below the level of the ground floor and necessitated by the ground sloping downwards. On style it is dated to the late 13th century

 The interior looking west March 2014
The interior looking west March 2014

The remainder of the church is predominantly 14th century. In 1333 the Bishop of Lincoln ordered the parishioners to repair the nave, perhaps giving a date at which the chancel was finished as this was usually the first part of the church to be built as it was the holiest, accommodating the high altar.

 The north arcade and aisle seen from the south arcade March 2014
The north arcade and aisle seen from the south arcade March 2014

The nave has four bay arcades. This and much of the rest of the church is usually ascribed to the wealthy and influential Matthew Assheton, who was vicar from 1349 to 1400 when he died. The nave and chancel have clerestory windows.

 The chancel arch March 2014
The chancel arch March 2014

The chapels have three bay arcades. These and the chancel arch are all taken to be 14th century and are Decorated in style as are the nave arcades.

 West tower arch March 2014
West tower arch March 2014

The arch between the nave and west tower may also by 14th century, though bigger than the other work of that century in the church. The north and south doors are of Perpendicular style and so belong to the 14th or 15th century.

 The south porch March 2014
The south porch March 2014

The south porch formerly had two storeys. A doorway, blocked by rubble, remains to attest to the fact.

The roof at the east end of the nave March 2014 
The roof at the east end of the nave March 2014

The nave roof has eight bays. It is decorated with bosses of coats of arms including the Musgrave family, Ely cathedral and Trinity College, Cambridge. The former were lords of the manors of Shillington alias Aspley Bury and Aspley alias Aspley Bury and the latter lords of the manor of Shillington Rectory and holders of the advowson.

 The east end March 2014
The east end March 2014

Square turrets flank the east window externally. The frieze above the window carries Matthew Assheton's rebus (i.e. the letters of his name) suggesting he also added the turrets

 The east window March 2014
The east window March 2014

The east window itself is Perpendicular. It is inserted into a larger window opening, presumably for a previous window. The new window can also probably be ascribed to Assheton.

 The interior looking east March 2014
The interior looking east March 2014

The screens between chapel arches and in the chancel arch are mostly 15th century. There is also some 19th century work.

 The west tower seen from the west March 2014
The west tower seen from the west March 2014

The tower collapsed in 1701 and was probably 14th century like the rest of the church. It was repaired in 1750.

The west tower seen from the south March 2014
The west tower seen from the south March 2014