Saints' Church Longstanton
of our Re-Ordering Project
All Saints' Church Longstanton is a splendid building dating back to the mid fourteenth century. Apparently it
was built to replace an earlier church on the same site that was destroyed by fire.
As with many churches All Saints' Church Longstanton is
steeped in history spanning over 800 years. The first known Lord of the Manor of All Saints was named Cheyne.
The village has many indications of
the impact of the Hatton family, who were Lord of the Manor from the sixteenth century to 1812.
The name of Sir Francis Drake's ship, in which
he sailed around the world, was changed from "Pelican" to the "Golden Hind" in recognition of the patronage
of Sir Christopher Hatton, Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth I, who was cousin to John Hatton, Lord of the Manor of All Saints.
Sir Thomas Hatton
had a 22-acre park in the parish of All Saints surrounding his manor house, Hatton Park. This was dismantled in 1851 and the
Hatton Park primary school now stands on the site.
The Church remains the focus of the village providing a place for Christian worship as well as a wide
range of services and activities for the wider community of Longstanton.
The church is a prominent landscape feature in a fairly flat and featureless landscape on the edge of the fens.
The tower/spire is very visible from a considerable distance, but is protected within the village by the tall trees which
surround the churchyard and much of the village.
The local community value the following views:
The churchyard contains no archaeological remains as far as is known other than marked grave positions, and the probability
of finding unarticulated skeletal remains scattered throughout the spoil earth, but no archaeological investigations have
been undertaken in recent years.
Adjacent buildings vary in age, but are mainly domestic in style
and twentieth century brickwork, creating a contrast in style which makes the church building a more prominent feature within
The boundaries to the churchyard are
marked by stout brick and field rubble walls, about 4ft in height with gateways leading to the south porch and north doorway.
There are no significant memorials within the churchyard. However, there are a number of RAF War graves situated at the western
entrance to the churchyard.
The area the village occupies has been inhabited since the period of Roman Britain (43-410 AD). Earlier
occupation is possible due to its location on flat fertile land, which was rare in this heavily forested area - not extensively
cleared until between 8th and 11th centuries.
The first written evidence of a settlement
is in the 1070 Domesday Book, where it is listed as "Stantona" = a "tun" (enclosed settlement) on stony
ground. The 1086 Domesday Book there are two villages recorded, "Stantune" and "Stantone". In 1230 they
were known as "Stanton" and "the other Stanton" and by 1282 were each known as Long Stanton and identified
by the suffixes "All Saints" and "St Michael's". The two parishes remained as such until 1953 when
the civil parish of Longstanton was created.
In 1617 Longstanton Manor was sold to Sir Christopher
Hatton. There is much evidence of the Hatton family in the monuments around the church and the chest tomb which contains alabaster
figures of Sir Thomas Hatton (died on 1658) and his wife.
Sir Christopher Hatton was patron
of Francis Drake who subsequently changed the name of his flagship from "Pelican" to "Golden Hind" the
crest of the Hatton family. The crest can be seen throughout the church. The Hatton line died out in 1812.
In 1843 the local newspaper reported the poor state of the church, but within ten years several new windows had been
added - probably the three side windows in the chancel.
Between 1873 and 1891 the church underwent
a major restoration, mainly paid for by Mr R H Wood, a notable benefactor of the church, and his wife Elizabeth (maiden name
In 1911 the population was 400, but had grown to 1300 by 1951 due to RAF Oakington being
created in 1938 and the provision of barracks and married quarters in Longstanton. By 1981 the population had grown further
to 2355 (over 50% being servicemen and their families).
The RAF left in 1973 and the Army
took over the barracks, which following the withdrawal of the Army were eventually closed in 1999 and the military quarters
were sold on to the public.
In recent years several hundred new homes have been built (and continue
to be built) so the current population is now in excess of 3000. The first phase [phase 1] of the Northstowe new town build
of some 1,500 dwellings is planned to be built at the north eastern end of our parish commencing 2014/15.
Today there is little local employment and most villagers regularly commute to Cambridge, London or the surrounding
For over 1000 years there has been a church building on this site. The structural church
has been added and rearranged to facilitate its worship, and we now wish to make the building "fit for purpose"
for the 21st century.
There are currently 46 people on the Electoral Roll and the
average Sunday church attendance is 45 adults and 10 children. Our monthly "Messy Church" (which takes place in
the Village Institute because we lack facilities in church) attracts 30-60 people, of which some 50% have no other church
Our usual morning service is Holy Communion and there are presently separate facilities
for children in the Rectory, again because we lack suitable facilities in church. However, those separate resources could
be re-taken at short notice.
Although the majority of the congregation are retired, we do have a number
of younger families who attend regularly and recently we have witnessed an increase in the congregation as a consequence of
new builds within the village.
The church is kept clean and tidy and is open each day. There
have been no problems with vandalism, although regretfully lead has been stolen from the roof on three separate occasions.
The community has a Village Institute and a Social Centre at the sports and recreation ground, which provide for
some community and social functions. The schools main hall is also available for hire.
has no other buildings but is currently renting the Rectory from the Diocese to accommodate the Parish Evangelist who allows
the church to use the garden and house for church and community events.
The Church Building
The listing description of All Saints'
Church is as follows:
"TL 36NE LONGSTANTON RAMPTON ROAD (North West
Side) 4/73 Church of All Saints 31.8.62 GV I Parish church, mostly mid-late C14.
Restorations of 1886, and
1891 including chancel and fenestration. Fieldstone with clunch dressings, now replaced by limestone. Tiled roofs. West tower,
nave, south porch, North and South aisles, South chapel and chancel.
Three stage West tower, embattled,
with plinth to five stage diagonal buttresses. Newel staircase in South East angle. Restored West window.
chamber openings are C14 of two cinquefoil openings in two-centred head. Beast gargoyles to corners of cornice.
of limestone ashlar with two tiers of gabled lucernes. Nave: also of fieldstone with limestone dressings. South aisle has
two stage angle buttresses and restored reticulated tracery to C14 windows. South porch rebuilt C19. South chapel, also C14
but restored and reroofed in C19. Some brick to upper courses.
Two stage splayed plinth. Chancel: has a low side
window in a two centred arch and a South doorway of two ogee moulded orders. Interior: Nave arcade C14-C15 in four bays with
two wave moulded orders to two centred arches on octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases.
aisle has C15-C16 crown posts to lean-to roof. The South chapel contains monuments to the Hatton family, including a tomb
chest of alabaster with effigies of Sir Thomas Halton d.1658 and his wife Lady Mary, said to be by E. Marshall, and a canopy
of 1770. In the North aisle, reset, is a box pew of late C16 oak, with sunken panelling, frieze of fruit and foliage, dentil
cornice and jewelled work to the pilasters.
The chancel has C14 sedilia in three bays with cusped ogee arches in
square head. There are wide blank arches to North and South walls of chancel possibly originally for chapels. Font, C15, octagonal
with traceried panels to the sides. C19 funeral bier in North aisle and two C16-C17 oak chests in South aisle. Pevsner. Buildings
of England p.432 R.C.H.M. record card."
The first record of a church is in 1217, but there
is every likelihood that an earlier church existed, being little more than a timber and thatched hall.
There is a carved stone in the churchyard which
originally held a Saxon cross (recently restored) and this is further evidence of an early church on the site.
The records to the incumbency date to 1286 with Fulke de Penebrugg being the first recorded priest.
At some point the church was rebuilt in stone, but this was destroyed by fire in 1349 (entry in Bishop of Ely's
Register). All that remains of the original stone church is a small niche in the north wall of the chancel. It is early English
in style so no earlier than 1180 and probably held a statue.
Building History (1350-1529)
The church walls are constructed from field picked rubble stone with Lincolnshire limestone ashlar dressings and
a rubble core. The roofs of the nave and chancel would have been thatched originally. Rebuilding was substantially completed
by 1361, following the fire, but then a tree fell through the roof, killing two people at worship inside.
The large five light east window with Decorated curvilinear tracery is thought to be original, dating from 1350-1375.
Each side of the nave there is an aisle with the clerestory wall supported on a four bay arcade with early Perpendicular style
The Chancel was formerly separated from the nave by a timber rood screen that William Cole
described in 1742 as "a good neat screen". This appears to have been removed in the 1906 restoration.
Above the chancel are remains of a 14th century wall painting, believed to depict the Last Judgement.
The font has many different forms of tracery and has been described as both Decorated and Perpendicular.
The south transept formerly contained a Chantry Chapel endowed 1350-1361 when the Cheyneys were Lords of the Manor.
The transept has three fine late decorated windows, each of four lights.
The south porch is Early
Perpendicular and appears to have been added after the main body of the church was completed. The tower and spire are believed
to be early 15th century; the nave and chancel are in the decorated style.
Commonwealth, Restoration (1530-1742)
No detailed analysis or inspection has been carried
out to establish the presence of wall paintings, but we assume that such were covered up during the commonwealth. The Chantry
chapel fittings were also removed at this time.
Revival of Fortunes (1743-present)Little or no building work took place between the middle of the 19th century,
but alterations and additions were made in the form of monuments - Wallis family, William Markham, Ann Hatton.
It was at this time that the wooden pew was moved to the east end of the north aisle where it is still positioned
today - it is highly likely that the pew is actually older than the Hatton era.
was installed [gifted to the church] by Bishops of Ipswich and London in 1906 and part of it may have originally come from
a French convent in London. It is in good working order and carries well in the church. However, there is a view that to enable
the development and progression of the re-ordering project we should consider moving or replacing the organ.
In 1912 five new bells were cast to make a peal of 8 bells - the incumbent at that time was an enthusiastic campanologist.
In 1992 a new stained glass window situated in the north aisle was dedicated in memory of 7th Squadron who were
based at RAF Oakington during the 1939-1945 World War.
In recent years the ceiling of the nave has been restored (the old ceiling began to collapse),
a new heating system has been installed and the church has been carpeted. Pews have been removed from the back of the
church and it is this area which we now wish to develop.
Significance for mission
The church remains at the literal centre of the community who see it as a representation of God's incarnational
presence in their community. Families come to have their babies baptised, their weddings blessed and their dead buried in
the presence of God. It is also a place of solemn reflection and remembrance for the village community as well as for RAF
7 Squadron Association.
We see the church fabric as giving us opportunities for mission at the
liminal experiences in the life of the members of the community, as well as providing a centre for worship, support, engagement
and community fellowship.
As a deposit of corporate memory, both church and churchyard remain dear
to the community who surround it, and this is reflected in the high standard of care visible in the tending of family graves,
especially those of the RAF as well as in the upkeep of the church fabric and the continuing support of the ministry of the
church in the parish.
Apart from Sunday worship, the ability to open the church during the week
gives opportunities for tourists, travellers and the local non-church going community to encounter Christ on their own terms.
Our hope is that "the very stones themselves" play their part in encouraging the wider community to encounter
With an ever increasing local population and the pressure on other community facilities,
the need to maintain a place for religious encounter, spiritual engagement and worship becomes ever more necessary, and we
feel our role is as much to enable this encounter to be made all the clearer by enhancing the simplicity of the space for
worship without detaching it from the heritage of hundreds of years of Christian worship.
the lack of other places for such worship nearby, the demographic figures alone suggest that we have considerable scope for
mission. During the initial phase of the Northstowe development, All Saints Church will be the only consecrated building,
which can offer and be used for those occasions.Re-ordering proposals
affected by proposals
For some years there has been a realisation that in order to
meet the needs of the local community, those that visit and those that regularly worship at All Saints' Church Longstanton
there is a requirement to provide such basic facilities as toilets, kitchen and meeting areas.
PCC have previously attempted to create these facilities in an external location within the churchyard but have consistently
met an impasse with the local planning authority, and for that reason are now actively pursuing an internal solution to achieve
their mission requirements.
The proposed works in the current phase include a new kitchen, toilets
and fellowship area at the west end of the nave with a gallery above reached via a timber staircase located at the west end
of the south aisle.
- The organ will be moved or totally replaced by a new electronic organ
located to the east end of the north aisle in the scheme.
- The font and north aisle east
window will be moved to the middle of the south aisle.
- New floor finishes in the vicinity of the works, lowered former pew platforms, a
new fitted kitchen and ringing floor in the tower are all part of the project.
The proposed reordering will affect the whole of the nave and aisles of
the church and especially the extreme east and west ends and the base of the tower.
The PCC are
keen to consider the next phase towards the improved accessibility of the building and its suiting the needs for other uses.
All Saints' Church, Longstanton
Faith in our Future
In 2004 the
church of England published a ‘green paper' Building Faith in our Future which
reminded us that church buildings are a precious resource and can play a vital role in their communities. It outlined the
numerous opportunities of opening up churches for additional uses and included recommendations about how this could be facilitated.
National and local government and public sector agencies are increasingly acknowledging the contribution
of faith groups to social cohesion, education, and regeneration. There is now much research available to show that faith groups
have a special contribution to make.
They are deeply rooted in community life, able to reach out to the
most vulnerable groups, and are well placed to provide high-quality local public services. In recent years, there have been
hundreds, if not thousands of examples where communities have revitalised their buildings by opening them up to the local
The need in Longstanton
The current population
of the parish of Longstanton is around 3,000 (and growing) and will be considerably increased as the first phase of the "North
Stowe" development take place (1,500 homes) in the spring of 2014, which will effectively double the size of the village.
The Church need to
play its part in facilitating the increasing demands placed upon community buildings, especially the church both in terms
of the servicing of spaces and the numbers of people likely to be using them, without losing space for worshippers.
There is strong evidence via one of our Community wide Questionnaire showing considerable support for All Saints
Church to be used and to be available by the community for a range of activities during the week as well as for religious
worship on Sundays.
Our re-ordering project seeks to;
- to improve the quality of life for the local community,
- to broaden the range of activities taking place within
the local community,
- to improve accessibility of building for community
- to use the church building more effectively.
We are aware that in developing our re-ordering project and adapting our church building is not a simple
process. The building is much loved by the local community and in our desire to refocus the use of the building we have taken
into account the fact that the building is viewed by many within the local community as sacred.
We are mindful to ensure that any alterations
are sensitive to its historic fabric and cultural significance while making the building fit for 21st century purposes, and
our wish to create a community space while preserving a consecrated space.
Our re-ordering project
enables our building to continue as a place of sacred worship, while at the same time helping to meet a specific need of an
expanding local community.
By providing additional space and services to the community we will create
a wider group of people able, and importantly willing, to take on the shared responsibility of maintaining the building.
Thus the scene is set for why we seek to change our church buildings to allow us to expand and fulfil our mission.
Our Vision Statement is to "bring the light of Christ to the people of Longstanton" and we believe that
the changes proposed within our re-ordering project are a significant step forward towards us achieving this.
Current difficulties in meeting the need
The building is over eight hundred
years old and despite being in a state of good repair and regularly used; one of its most significant drawbacks in this modern
age is that it has no toilet facilities. There are no public conveniences in the village and so people in their moment of
need have to either discreetly visit the churchyard or go to the Rectory, which is a considerable distance from the church
An existing parent/toddler group (Mini-Jaffas) meets in the church on a Tuesday morning
but after a time of worship has to move to the Village Institute because of the lack of any form of toilet facilities within
the Church. This is inconvenient and has an element of risk, which we are seeking to remove.
are unable to hold our monthly ‘Messy Church' activities for our young children and their parents because of the
lack of these urgently required facilities. We regularly organise concerts, exhibitions etc. but the lack of toilet and kitchen
facilities makes this a logistical problem, which predictably reduces their attractiveness especially if any of the activities
or events are more than an hour long.
order to improve "wider community accessibility as well as our ability to reach out to the wider community"
we need toilet facilities installed into the church, not only to satisfy the requirements under the Children's Act but
to also provide the wider public who are wishing to visit or making use of the church with a much needed modern day facility.
To attract wider community engagement we need the ability to serve refreshments/food for up to 50 people
thereby improving the versatility of the building as well improving upon the ambience and setting of the event that are organised
within the Church.
We need an additional safe space and unobtrusive environment for our children,
mums, dads and toddler groups to meet during church services and other church and community activities.
need additional space within the church, which can be used for church activities as well as events held by other local community
and voluntary groups including messy church.
Our re-ordering proposal seeks to achieve wider
community use while enhancing the unique quality of the existing building for Christian worship.
A recent Community Questionnaire provides us with ample evidence that
we have wide public support for our re-ordering proposals. We have already met with the Diocesan Church Building Officer to
develop our Business Plan. We do not anticipate the project generating income. However it will enable us to fulfil our mission
in a more viable way.
We do not believe that our re-ordering project will have an adverse effect
on our medieval church, but will in fact enrich and refresh it making it more accessible to the community thereby preserving
its presence within the village for future generations.
Costs & Funding
The latest quinquennial report has highlighted no major defects to the building, but the cost of repairs over the
next five years will be around £25,000 + VAT + fees, and it is anticipated that some of these costs
will be subsumed within the proposed re-ordering project. We seek to fund our re-ordering project via a range of different
sources of funding; these include:-
- Church Funds
- Church assets
- Congregation - donations, gift aid, interest-free loans
- Local Community - appeals, fund-raising activities, sponsorship eg: ‘buy a brick'
- Grant organisations
- Local businesses
- Local Trusts and local funders
Local authority and Charities
- National Trusts and funders
- National lotteries
Church and the Friends of All Saints' Church hold cash and firm promises of financial support amounting
to approximately £70K towards the overall cost of the project.
Document originally prepared February 2012
by All saints' Parochial Church Council
Amended by Tony
Redman WCP LLP
Final document amended and accepted
by All Saints' Church Longstanton