A HISTORY OF ALL SAINTS', HARSTON

All Saints Church 2.jpg
 

There has been a church in Harston since Norman times, and probably earlier. The first mention is in 1069 when the Lord of the Manor and Sheriff of Cambridgeshire gave the Rectory to the Prior of Burwell. lt is possible that the grotesque corbels supporting the nave roof could be from this period.


The main body of the present church was built about 1445 in the perpendicular style. lt is virtually unaltered, although the roof of the nave has been lowered: the higher roofline can be seen on the east face of the tower. The tower is probably earlier and the chancel 19th century.


ln the mid sixteenth century (1559) the state of the church was described as 'ruinous' and at later dates the chancel was pulled down and rebuilt at least twice. The church as you see it today is several feet shorter and a vestry has been added. The approach is unusual as it is from the north, so this side of the church has a porch, larger windows and a stair turret with a conical roof.


The fifteenth century tower at the south end is a fine example of flint and rubble construction and was probably built by Northamptonshire stone masons. The buttresses clasping the corners are typical of their work. The fact that the arch mouldings of the nave are flush with the walls above may be another indication of their involvement {cf St Nicholas Church, lslip, Northants.)  Major work on the tower was carried out in 2010/11. This included underpinning and extensive rebuilding of the parapets, stabilising the flintwork and repointing the exterior, re-inforcing the spiral staircase, a new roof and new windows.


The chancel and vestry are both Victorian. The chancel was rebuilt in 1805 and again in 1853/4 when the vestry was added and the east window was inserted. Later, in 1890, the foundations of the former chancel were found and revealed that it had been eight or nine feet longer and probably wider. Jesus College is the present lay rector and has responsibility for the upkeep of the chancel. They replaced the chancel roof in 2006/7 when repairs to the nave parapets and the rood turret were carried out.


Today the church is listed as Grade ll*


Read our Guide to All Saints' Harston (pdf)

Read more on the Harston History website.

 

Information on the Ashes buried at All Saints’ Parish Church updated December 2021

In the 1930s, the churchyard at All Saints’ reached capacity and burials there ceased apart from those in family plots, however ashes continue to be scattered or buried in the churchyard. Whilst some ashes were buried in unmarked spots, much work was done in the mid-1970/80s to clear and level the area between the church and the river to create a Garden of Remembrance.

Here ashes have been interred since 1984 and memorial tablets mark the spots. The location of these memorial tablets (at the end of 2021) is shown in the plan below and photographs of the tablets and their inscriptions can be found on the Harston History website at https://www.harstonhistory.org.uk/content/new-contributions/parish-church-ashes-burials?justadded=4890#comment-4890.

Harston ashes location.jpg