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Saint Andrews Church Leighton Buzzard

Saint Andrews about 1900
Saint Andrew's about 1900 [Z1130/72]

Saint Andrew's church was built in Church Road on the north side of town between 1865 and 1867. It was not a separate parish but a chapel of ease for All Saints. As part of the development Saint Andrew's Girls' School was also built.

 Saint Andrews about 1900 Z1306-72
Saint Andrews about 1900 [Z1306/72]

Former County Archivist Chris Pickford described the church in his Bedfordshire Historical Records Series volume Bedfordshire Churches in the 19th Century: Appendices.The site was given by Colonel Hanmer of Stockgrove Park and the Duke of Bedford donated £100 towards the cost of the building. It was designed by Joseph Neale of Bristol and built of local sandstone in 13th century Gothic style with a nave, north and south aisles, chancel, vestry, organ chamber, north-west porch and a tower and spire in the north-west corner. It was described by early 20th century architect  and expert on Victorian architecture Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel as "lamentably bad".

 Saint Andrews Interior about 1900
Saint Andrew's interior about 1900 [P91/2/40]

A stone reredos and carved pulpit with panels designed by the architect were made but never installed due to objections by some of the Building Committee. The organ was installed in 1868 and later gifts included: a lych gate in 1882; a stained glass east window in memory of Colonel Hanmer in 1884; heating apparatus in 1893; an alabaster and mosaic reredos (from All Saints, designed by Ewan Christian in 1880) in 1901; a new church room in the churchyard in 1904; a new organ by Heath & Reach organ builder Thomas Atterton in 1911; a new chancel screen designed by Charles Spooner in 1911.

Demolition of Saint Andrews in 1969 
Demolition of Saint Andrew's in 1969 [Z50/72/184]

Baptisms took place at the church from 1868 but it was not licensed for marriages until 1953 and no burials ever took place in the churchyard. By 1961 it was clear that the building was becoming unsafe; it was closed in 1964 and demolished in 1969 with some of the furnishings being moved elsewhere. The church room was also demolished as was Saint Andrew's School. The litch gate, however, remains on North Street.

Litch-gate of former Saint Andrews church June 2008
Litch-gate of former Saint Andrews church June 2008