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Chellington Church Introduction

This page was written by Pam Hider

Chellington church watercolour picture
Chellington church from the south-west about 1815 [X707/1]

"The church of Saint Nicholas, pleasantly situated on the summit of a hill, is a building of stone, in the Early English and Decorated styles, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, south porch and a Decorated western tower with broach spire, containing 4 bells: the font, Early English, is a cylindrical basin on circular shafts: there is a parish chest, dated 1667; the inscriptions to William Chaderton A.M. 1724, Rev. Thomas Chaderton A.M. 1735, and to the Bamford family: in the churchyard is a tomb to Sir Robert Darling who, as a boy, it is said, used to keep cows on Chellington Hill; in 1767 he was sheriff of London and Middlesex and in 1768 was elected M.P. for Wendover, as the colleague of Burke; he died 4th August, 1770". (Kelly's Directory,Bedfordshire,1898).

Arthur Mee, writing in 1939, describes " a pleasant 14th century interior, some dusty 17th century pews in the aisles, and in the nave a graceful little Jacobean pulpit with carved panels". An article on the church from the Northampton Mercury 17 July 1847 stated: "The communion table is very common; not far from it is a tall cupboard, very much resembling a sentry box; its use was not mentioned (probably a shelter for the parson to stand in when taking a funeral service in wet weather). We are glad, however, to state that no seats have been permitted to intrude their ugliness in this part of the church.The pavement is in very good order. The nave has a timber roof.The pulpit and reading desk are very common, forming a sad contrast to the ancient oaks sitting underneath, which are all open.The pews are happily banished to the aisles; this is infinitely preferable to placing them, as is too frequently the case, in the best part of the church. The chancel screen is gone, and its place is supplied by a miserable railing.....". The author ends by saying "we know not if there is a dissenting chapel within the village, but if there is, we will answer for it...There is no school".

Chellington church interior
Church interior about 1968

The declining population of Chellington led eventually, in 1972, to the church of Saint Nicholas being declared redundant. A consequence of this was that a side altar’s wooden screen found a new home at St.Andrew’s church at Ampthill where it can be seen today.

 Wooden screen at Ampthill church
Wooden screen at Ampthill May 2018

Happily the church still stands, having been repaired, refurbished,extended, modernised and brought into the 21st century by its re-formation into the Chellington Centre - a retreat for youth groups and for community activities.

The interior looking east courtesy of The Chellington Centre
The interior looking east courtesy of The Chellington Centre