The New Church at Silsoe
Silsoe church from the south-east March 2011
Former County Archivist Chris Pickford produced a number of volumes for Bedfordshire Historical Records Society on Bedfordshire churches in the 19th century. Silsoe was in the third of these (S-Y), being society volume 79 published in 2000.
The interior of the new church in 1830 [L33/256]
The present church is a work of the early 1830s, begun in 1830 and opened on 20th February 1831. It was designed by Thomas Philip, 2nd Earl de Grey to replace the previous chapel of ease which stood s few yards to the west. The builder and the man in charge of the day to day decision making on the project was Thomas Smith.
The interior looking east March 2011
The church is built in the Perpendicular style and looks to the casual eye like a late medieval English church. It is certainly nothing like the Louis XV style the Earl adopted for his other major architectural work, the new house at Wrest. Original furnishing included box pews, since removed, and heraldic glass, designed by the Earl in the windows, which has survived.
The Grey coat of arms in Silsoe church March 2011
On the east wall were boards with the Ten Commandments. This work was carried out by Newton & Son of Hitchin [L26/1454]. A new velvet pulpit cloth was installed as was a new clock, which was replaced in 1909.
The interior looking west March 2011
The church is largely built or red sandstone and comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, vestry and west tower. In the event the building materials proved unsatisfactory. Problems with the woodwork and damp on the walls were noted by Archdeacon Bonney as early as 1839.
The north wall and roof of the chancel March 2011