The United Benefice of
St Mary's, Henlow, and St Andrew's, Langford

A Brief History of St Andrew's, Langford

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A Brief History of St Andrew's, Langford

A number of churches, possibly two or three, have stood on the site of the present building whose origins can be traced back to the 12th Century. It must be assumed that there was a church in 1142 when it was endowed for the Knights Templar by Simon de Wahull. The Templars then built a new church, which was almost completely demolished in 1312 when work on the basis of the present building commenced.

Like most medieval churches it has changed over the centuries. The Chancel was built in the 13th century, using some parts of an earlier building and the Nave and Aisles followed in the 14th century. The last part to be built was the porch and tower. This probably explains the unusual south side position. The Chancel was remodelled in the late 18th Century and the vestry and organ chamber are Victorian additions.

The religious order of the Knights Templar was patron between 1185 and 1312 and the Knights Hospitallers from 1314 to 1539.

The Black Death took its toll on the parish and about a third of the villagers died from the plague, including two vicars in 1369.

Since the dissolution of the Monasteries, in 1539, the Crown has been the Patron and responsible for the appointment of incumbents.

During the Civil War Cromwell's Roundheads used the church as barracks and stables and left it in a sorry state. Small fragments of medieval glass can be seen in some of the windows that escaped the vandalism.

In the late 1700's Viscount Byng, owner of the nearby Southill Estate, wrote in his diary "passed through Langford where the House of God is more wretched than the house of man". This was the state of many churches during the Commonwealth period and afterwards.

Before 1838, when it was moved to the Ely Diocese, Langford was in the Diocese of Lincoln. It was again transferred in 1914 to the new Diocese of St Albans.

The incumbency of the Reverend Christopher Ewbank, who was appointed as curate in 1867 and later became vicar, dominated church and village life for the next 66 years.

In 1997 the Parishes of Henlow and Langford were brought together as a United Benefice, served by one incumbent.

This brief history is taken with kind permission from Ralph W. Turner's booklet, Saint Andrew's, Langford, Bedfordshire: A History of Church Events and People, copies of which are available from St Andrew's, price 2.00. A longer excerpt is available on the Langford History Society website: Church & Chapel

St Andrew's, Langford, Bedfordshire: A History of Church Events and People

St Mary's, Henlow, and St Andrew's, Langford :: Diocese of St Albans :: Church of England

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