Statement of Significance of St Andrew's Church, Alwalton
The Grade 1 (entry 54813-1951) Parish Church of St Andrew sits in the old part of the village of Alwalton on Church Street, within a conservation area, grid ref TL1335095943. The address is: St Andrews Church, Church St., Alwalton, Cambridgshire PE7 3UU and at www.alwaltonchurch.org.uk .The church serves in the deanery of Yaxley in the diocese of Ely. The local authority is Huntingdonshire district council, where the church records are kept.
The church is built of stone rubble with Barnack dressings, rendered brick and tiles and matches the adjacent houses, the majority of which are listed. The recent part of the village is post WW2 built at the top of Church St, the lower end of which terminates at the River Nene. Hence Church St. with it’s manor house, post office, pub and village hall forms a central and fixed enclave of it’s own.
The original churchyard surrounding the church was closed in 1884. An extension was given in 1963 by Sir Frank Perkins as a personal burial ground, and remains open. There are memorials to the Hetley, Rowell, Neal and Hopkinson families. An open ground bought by the vestry in 1887 from the Fitzwilliam estate, lies opposite the church and is maintained by the parish council. Alwalton was a domesday village but a church is not recorded, though there is evidence of stones from an earlier building. The oldest recorded graves date from 1576. There are mature ash, beech, fir, yew and lime trees with a wild flower area.
Several of the Fitzwilliam family are commemorated in the church including Col Dane, husband of Elgiva Kathorn, who were the last of the family to live in the manor house and were patrons in the village. The ashes of Sir Henry Royce of Rolls Royce fame who was born in the village, are interred in the church, and is of national importance. Another local engineer, Sir Frank Perkins the founder of Perkins engines, who lived in the manor house until his death, is also commemorated.
The building consists of a chancel, crossing, north and south trancepts, nave, north and south aisles and a 19th c porch. Walls of stone with rubble infill and Barnack dressings, with the clerestory of brick and rendered, under a tiled roof. The earliest parts are dated 1170 with stone from an earlier building.
Originally the church consisted of a small nave and north aisle. Early in the 13th c this was extended, with a south aisle an extra bay at the west end and the addition of a tower. Later in the 14th c the chancel and trancepts were built. In the 15th century the roof was raised and a clerestory added. Gargoyles are 15thc.
A major restoration took place in 1840/41 by Browning, under the ministry of Rev John Hopkinson, a new roof, the porch and heating was installed, as well as repairs to glass and stone work. In 1902/4 the tower was underpinned and further restoration under Townsend and Fordham.
The psicina and sedillia are 13thc and the font from 15thc. In 1960 the church was re ordered by George Pace, with plain windows, pulpit and light fittings in white oak. 1997 saw a further update by Peter McFarlane with refreshment facilities, a toilet, new chairs and an audio/visual system, bring the church up to date. Artefacts include a chalice from the reign of Henry 8th, and a communion table from the commonwealth. One low 14th c stained glass window exists on the south side of the chancel, and the east window of 1920, dedicated to the fallen of WW1. A peal of five bells from 1661 are supported in a 1906 frame. The organ dates from 1901. A memorial to the dead of WW1 is on the south side of the chancel. A complete list of fittings are in the property register.
The church performs all the functions of the Anglican Church in the community. Alongside the worship and the spiritual work the building hosts film nights, a mother and toddler group, lectures, coffee mornings, quiz nights and musical events.