03 November 2022

A return visit to Great Linford to
see inside Saint Andrew’s Church

Saint Andrew’s Church in Great Linford, one of the ancient churches in Milton Keynes (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

I have visited Great Linford a number of times in recent week, walking along a stretch of the Grand Union Canal, enjoying lunch in the Black Horse, visiting Milton Keynes Arts Centre and strolling around Great Linford Manor Park.

But, until last week, I have only seen Saint Andrew’s Church from the outside.

However, I had an opportunity to visit Saint Andrew’s Church last week when two of us were in Great Linford Manor Park for a photo-shoot.

Saint Andrew’s Church nestles in a corner of the grounds of Great Linford Manor Park (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Nestling in the north-west corner of the grounds of Great Linford Manor Park, a 17th century manor house built by the Pritchard family, Saint Andrew’s has seen many changes and modifications over the centuries.

The name Linforde, which appears in the Domesday Book in 1086, refers to an area with two settlements on each bank of the River Ouse. The name Linford probably refers to the point of the river crossing where there were lime or linden trees. By the 13th century, these two settlements were in separate parishes, known as Little Linford to the north of the river and Great Linford to the south.

Saint Andrew’s is one of the ancient churches in Milton Keynes, and is the only place in Milton Keynes where definitive in situ evidence of late Saxon occupation has been discovered.

Excavations beneath the nave of the church suggest a late Saxon or very early Norman church stood on this site, with a simple nave and small chancel. At some time in the 12th century, the present church tower was abutted to the earlier nave and chancel and the western-most wall of the old nave was demolished. However, the roofline survives within the east face of the tower, within the present nave roof.

Over the following centuries, many other demolitions, extensions and alterations to the fabric of the building can be traced, while the internal fixtures and fittings have also been much repaired and altered to accommodate changing tastes and uses.

Inside Saint Andrew’s Church, facing east (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Today, the church consists of the tower, nave, chancel, south aisle and porch, north chapel and north porch, along with a recently added vestry.

A section of late mediaeval tile pavement has survived too, and at one point, the church may have had a steeple, and an effigy of a Green Man dates from the mediaeval period.

The earliest reference to a chapel at Great Linford appears in a charter dated 1151-1154. The first recorded rector of Saint Andrew’s was Geoffrey (or Galfridus) de Gibbewin in 1215. At the time of his death in 1235 he was insane, although he died not at Great Linford, but at Osney Abbey in Oxfordshire.

Inside Saint Andrew’s Church, facing west (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The barest hints remain of mediaeval paintings in Saint Andrew’s. These include a fragment of 13th century red scroll on the exposed parts of the tower arch.

When the 18th century wooden panelling was removed from the north wall of the nave, at least three periods of painted decoration could be seen. The earliest was a fragment of inscribed scroll that points to the prior existence of a large image.

A fragment found on the west wall of the chancel depicted a series of red and yellow skeletal legs. It is speculated that this would have been an image of the three living and the three dead, intended as an allegorical warning against the emptiness of earthly ranks and riches.

Another fragment of a ‘doom painting’ was found on the chancel arch.

The chancel and high altar in Saint Andrew’s Church (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The Pipard family held the manor from the 1180s until 1310, and seemed to be engaged in something of a tussle for ownership with the Butler of Ormond after the marriage of John Pipard’s daughter to an Edmund Butler. King Edward II briefly took control of the manor on the death of Edmund Butler in 1321, and restored the manor to John Pipard in 1323. But by 1328 the Butlers had regained the manor.

James Butler (1420-1461), 5th Earl of Ormond, was a staunch supporter of the House of Lancaster and after the Yorkist victory at Towton, he was beheaded at Newcastle on 1 May 1461. The manor then passed through a number of hands, first to a Richard Middleton and his heirs, then in 1467 to Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV and future wife of Henry VII.

She was followed by Gherardo di Bernardo Canigiani, a representative in London of the Medici bank of Florence, which was lending vast sums of money to Edward IV to shore up the crown.

The three-light East Window by John Oldrid Scott and Henry Victor Milner (1889) shows Christ in Glory with Saint John the Baptist, Saint Lawrence, Saint George, King Edmund, the Virgin Mary and Saint Augustine (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

When Henry VII became king in 1485, ending the War of the Roses, he annulled the act of attainment against the Butlers, who remained Lords of the Manor until 1560.

Between 1322 and 1535, members of the Butler family of Ormond presented no less than 18 rectors of Great Linford.

The Lords of the Manor of Great Linford held the advowson of the parish or the right to nominate the rector until 1560, when Queen Elizabeth I granted it to a William Button and Thomas Escourt from Wiltshire. By 1590, the advowson had been acquired by Edward Kimpton, a London merchant, who appointed the Revd Richard Napier, who was Rector of Great Linford for over 40 years until he died in 1634.

The coat of arms of King Charles II in the church may date from the 1660s. It was damaged when the coved ceiling was added in 1707,.

The reredos was moved in the 1970s to an unusual place on the north wall, above the entrance from the north porch (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The wealthy London merchant Sir William Prichard (or Pritchard) became the new Lord of the Manor in 1678. He knocked down and replaced the mediaeval manor and built the almshouses in the manor grounds. He died in 1705 and was buried in a family vault beneath the church.

His widow Sarah contributed to refurbishing the church in 1707. The mediaeval chancel was demolished and the original material was used to rebuild on the same foundations, while the nave was completely refurbished. The south aisle was also demolished and a new simple narrow replacement built, and the south porch was remodelled. The steeple may have been removed at this time.

The village of Great Linford grew in importance following the construction in 1800 of the Grand Junction Canal and associated wharf to serve Newport Pagnell.

The Revd Christopher Smyth was curate in 1836-1838. Other curates who lived at the Rectory included the Revd Lawson Shan, the Revd Edmund Smyth and his son the Revd William Smyth. The Revd Sidney Herbert Williams played a significant role in the management of Saint Andrew’s School on the High Street.

The Revd William Andrewes Uthwatt (1793-1877) was the titular Lord of the Manor of Great Linford from 1855, but rarely visited the area, and appointed the Revd Francis Litchfield as rector in 1838. Litchfield was Rector of Great Linford in 1838-1876, but he was an absentee pluralist who lived at Farthinghoe in Northamptonshire. Instead, curates lived in the Rectory in Great Linford.

The 12th century tower is the oldest part of the present church (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The 12th century tower is the oldest part of the present church. After the weight of the tower had unsettled the foundations and distorted the tower arch, the church was refurbished in 1884.

A new baptismal font was presented to the church by the Clode Family, Mrs Uthwatt gave a new lectern, and a new organ was installed in 1887 by Mr Atterton, of Leighton Buzzard, with an organ recital by Mr B Wilford, of Newport Pagnell.

By 1911, the Uthwatts were no longer living at the Manor House, which was rented to the Mead family. But in 1922, Thomas Andrewes-Uthwatt appointed his son, the Revd Henry Andrewes-Uthwatt, as Rector, and the Uthwatt family continued to present until 1932.

Saint Andrew’s has three good examples of 15th to 17th century brasses commemorating Sir Roger Hunt and his wife Joan, Thomas and Elizabeth Malyn and Anne and John Uvedall.

A large white marble monument on the west wall of the north chapel commemorates Sir William Pritchard and a similar one on the east wall recalls Thomas and Catherine Uthwatt, later owners of the manor.

Considerable refurbishment were carried out in the early 18th century including rebuilding the chancel, south aisle and porch. The pulpit also dates from 1707.

Saint Andrew’s has a full set of six bells made by Joseph Eyre and installed in 1756.

A late mediaeval timber roof of the King Post type and carved bosses were revealed during the work in the 1980s. Unfortunately, the mediaeval wall paintings were plastered over at the time, the mediaeval stained glass was removed, and a small 13th century holy water stoup inside the north door was damaged.

The late 19th century saw the addition of new stained glass, oil lights, furniture, remodelled pews and heating.

Two windows in the south aisle, depicting the raising of Jairus’ daughter (1910) and the Good Samaritan window (1904), and are by Charles Eamer Kempe (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The three-light East Window by John Oldrid Scott and Henry Victor Milner (1889) shows Christ in Glory with Saint John the Baptist, Saint Lawrence, Saint George, King Edmund, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Augustine. Both the East Window and the Reredos below it were erected in memory of Mary Uthwatt of Great Linford, who died in 1885.

The reredos was moved in the 1970s to an unusual place on the north wall, above the entrance from the north porch. This triptych shows the Transfiguration in the centre, with Saint Andrew on the left, and Saint Philip on the right.

Two windows in the south aisle, the Good Samaritan window (1904) and the raising of Jairus’ daughter (1910), are by Charles Eamer Kempe.

The large limestone font probably dates from the late 19th century. The most valuable items of church plate are on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Linford Manor is now owned by Pete Winkelman, chairman of Milton Keynes Dons FC. The former stables and associated gate houses are now an Arts Centre. The former almshouses are not in use, but are scheduled to be restored.

In response to the changes introduced by the new city of Milton Keynes, Saint Andrew’s was redecorated in 1980, with the addition of a vestry, kitchen and toilet, and the pews were removed and replaced by individual seating. The work was assisted by the Archaeology Unit of Milton Keynes Development Corporation.

A blocked archway on the east end of the south wall (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Saint Andrew’s Church serves the Great Linford, Giffard Park, Blakelands and Redhouse Park areas. It is one of the six churches in the Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership in north-east Milton Keynes, which serves the areas of and near Bradwell, New Bradwell, Stantonbury, Great Linford, Downs Barn and Willen.

Ministry at Saint Andrew’s is shared between several lay and ordained ministers, and three licensed ministers look after Saint Andrew’s, sharing pastoral leadership: Canon Chuks Iwuagwu, the Rev David Lewis, a Baptist minister, and Colin Taylor.

Saint Andrew’s is a member of the Quiet Garden Movement that nurtures low cost, accessible, outdoor space for prayer, contemplation, rest and inspiration in a variety of settings. The garden beside the church is always open.

Saint Andrew’s has a strong musical tradition which finds expression in worship and occasional concerts. The church orchestra welcomes juniors, a children’s choir meets on Wednesday evenings and an adult choir rehearses for special occasions, including Easter and Christmas.

Sunday Services are at 10 am and include: Open Door, an informal family service (first Sundays), Holy Communion (second, fourth and fifth Sundays), and Baptisms (third Sundays), followed by Holy Communion at 11:15 am.

Holy Communion is celebrated at 10 am on the first Wednesday each month, after which the church remains open until 12.30pm for discussion groups, coffee and to welcome visitors.

Saint Andrew’s is one of the six churches in the Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership in north-east Milton Keynes (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Praying in Ordinary Time with USPG:
Thursday 3 November 2022

The chapel in Corpus Christi College, Oxford … Richard Hooker, the advocate of the Anglican ‘middle way’, was a fellow of Corpus Christi College (Photograph: Cliveden Conservation)

Patrick Comerford

Today, the Calendar of the Church of England in Common Worship remembers both Richard Hooker, Priest, Anglican Apologist, Teacher of the Faith, 1600, and Martin of Porres, Friar, 1639.

Richard Hooker (1554-1600) was born in Heavitree, Exeter, and in his formative years came under the influence of John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury.Through that influence, he went up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he became a fellow. He was ordained and then married, becoming a parish priest and, in 1585, Master of the Temple in London.

Richard Hooker became one of the strongest advocates of the position of the Church of England and defended the via media or ‘middle way’ between puritanism and papalism. Perhaps his greatest work was Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, which he wrote as the result of engaging in controversial debates. He showed Anglicanism is rooted firmly in Scripture as well as tradition, affirming its continuity with the pre-Reformation Ecclesia Anglicana, but now both catholic and reformed. He became a parish priest again near Canterbury and died there on this day in the year 1600.

Before this day gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.

For the rest of this week, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, One of the readings for the morning;

2, A reflection based on seven more churches or chapels in Oxford I have visited recently;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’

The Pelican Sundial, the large pillar in the centre of the main quad in Corpus Christi College, dates from 1579 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Luke 15: 1-10 (NRSVA):

1 Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’

3 So he told them this parable: 4 ‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.

8 ‘Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’

Corpus Christi College was founded in 1517 by Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

The Chapel of Corpus Christi College, Oxford:

Corpus Christi College, where Richard Hooker was an undergraduate, was founded in 1517 and is the twelfth oldest college in Oxford. It is located on Merton Street between Merton College and Christ Church, and is one of the smallest colleges in Oxford.

The college played a significant role in the translation of the King James Bible, and it is known for the pillar sundial in the main quadrangle, known as the Pelican Sundial. The Bishop of Winchester is ex officio the Visitor of the college.

Corpus Christi College was founded by Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester. Foxe had been the Visitor of Magdalen College and of Balliol College, was master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, for 12 years, and he was involved in the foundation of Saint John’s College, Cambridge.

Foxe began to build Corpus Christi in 1513, when he bought a nunnery, two halls, two inns and the Bachelor’s Garden of Merton College. Foxe was assisted in his foundation by Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, described by Foxe as pr√¶cipuus benefactor or ‘principal benefactor’.

Foxe was granted letters patent for the foundation by Henry VIII in 1516, and the college was officially founded in 1517. The college statutes provided for 20 fellows, 20 students, three lecturers, two priests, two clerks and two choristers. The founding fellows included Reginald Pole, later Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury. The college library was soon known as ‘the largest and best furnished library then in Europe,’ and for Erasmus the library was ‘among the chief beauties of Britain.’

In its first 100 years, Corpus Christi was identified with leading theologians who laid the foundations of Anglican identity, including John Jewel and Richard Hooker. Much later, John Keble, a leader of the Oxford Movement, was an undergraduate at Corpus Christi in the early 19th century. Former students of the college include the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, the writer Vikram Seth, the former leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband, and the former Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Because of the complexity of the college coat of arms, the pelican alone is used in many instances, such as the college flag and on top of the Pelican Sundial. In Christian iconography, the Pelican in her Piety, as seen in the personal arms of Bishop Foxe, symbolises Christ, who nourished the Church with his blood. This Eucharistic symbol also mirrors the college name, Corpus Christi meaning ‘the Body of Christ.’

The Pelican Sundial, the large pillar in the centre of the main quad, dates from 1579. The sundial is named after the gold-painted Pelican at the top of the pillar, which contains 27 separate sundials.

The college chapel adjoins the library and is just off the Main Quad. Its location is unusual: many colleges had their chapel in their main quad, with some colleges placing them on the first floor to fit them in.

The lectern in the chapel is one of the first bronze eagle lecterns in Oxford. It is also the only pre-Reformation one and was a gift of the first president.

The chapel’s altarpiece is a copy of Ruben’s ‘Adoration of the Shepherds,’ a gift from the antiquarian Sir Richard Worsley.

For over 500 years the chapel has been a place for corporate worship, the ministry of Word and Sacrament, prayers for the needs of the local community and the world, and a place for quiet and reflection.

Chapel activities include work with local homeless people through the Oxford Gatehouse and the Oxford Winter Night Shelter.

The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby has been Chaplain and Fellow of Corpus since 1993, and is also Dean of Welfare. She is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England and is a member of the Crown Nominations Commission, which nominates diocesan bishops.

She has served on bodies to strengthen relations between the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church, and is active in groups committed to promoting equality in the Church of England. Her academic interests include English church history in the Tudor and Stuart periods, and Anglican literary culture. She has co-edited a volume of essays on Anglican women novelists of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Dorothy L Sayers and Barbara Pym.

The main weekly service is on Sunday at 5.45pm, and is usually Choral Evensong or Sung Eucharist. Occasional informal during the week include said Eucharist at lunchtime and Compline a few times a term.

Chapel activities include work with local homeless people through the Oxford Gatehouse and the Oxford Winter Night Shelter (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Today’s Prayer (Thursday 3 November 2022):

The Collect:

God of peace, the bond of all love,
who in your Son Jesus Christ have made the human race
your inseparable dwelling place:
after the example of your servant Richard Hooker,
give grace to us your servants ever to rejoice
in the true inheritance of your adopted children
and to show forth your praises now and ever;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion Prayer:

God of truth,
whose Wisdom set her table
and invited us to eat the bread and drink the wine
of the kingdom:
help us to lay aside all foolishness
and to live and walk in the way of insight,
that we may come with all the saints to the eternal feast of heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday by the Revd David Rajiah, Diocesan Prayer Co-ordinator for the Diocese of West Malaysia.

The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:

Let us give thanks for the power of prayer. May we put aside time each day to pray and reflect.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Corpus Christi College Oxford is identified with leading theologians who laid the foundations of Anglican identity, including John Jewel and Richard Hooker (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

Corpus Christi College, Oxford, played a significant role in the translation of the King James Bible (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)