Leighton-Linslade Past Times: including Billington, Eggington, Heath & Reach and Stanbridge
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St. John the Baptist, Stanbridge

St. John the Baptist, StanbridgeBefore the year 1844, when Stanbridge became an Ecclesiastical Parish, it was a Chapelry of All Saints, Leighton Buzzard.

The church is located in the heart of the village at the junction of Tilsworth Road and Mill Road. It consists of:

  • Chancel - 31 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft.
  • Nave - 41 ft. 2 in. by 16 ft. 11 in.
  • North Aisle - 6 ft. 9 in. wide
  • South Aisle - 6 ft. 7 in. wide
  • West Tower - 10 ft. 2 in. by 11 ft.

The chancel was originally built in the 13th century but was subsequently lengthened and nearly rebuilt in the 15th century. lt diverges noticeably to the South . The north arcade of the nave and the chancel arch date from 1330 whereas the south arcade is circa 1300.

St. John the Baptist, StanbridgeThe west tower and clearstory windows were added to the church in the 15th century, and the aisle remodelled. The tower predates the clearstory and the outline of a former 14th century steep-pitched roof can be seen on the east wall of the tower.

In the east wall of the chancel is a three light window of 15th century date, and in the north east wall is a two light window of the same date which has been restored. The window in the south east is a modern copy of the north east window, and to the west of this is a south doorway and a two-light, square-headed window of 15th century detail.

At the north west of the chancel is a small 13th century light with an unpierced trefoil head. In the south wall is a trefoiled piscina. The chancel arch of circa 1330 has been restored and is in two chamfered orders with moulded capitals and bases. A narrow, 15th century, squint with cusped head is located in the north jamb.

St. John the Baptist, StanbridgeThe nave arcades are of four bays in two chamfered orders, supported by octagonal shafts having moulded capitals and bases, the details being like those of the chancel arch, whereas the the south arcade are of an earlier type. Some traces of the original colour decoration survive on the chancel arch and south arcade soffits. On each side of the nave are three two-light square-headed clearstory windows.

Although the two aisles are alike the south aisle has actually been rebuilt. The east windows of both aisles are like the clearstory windows except that they are pieced above their lights. The aisles also have two similar windows in their side walls, with a doorway between them. The north doorway is of 14th-century date and the south of 13th-century date. Over both doors are modern porches.

The south aisle contains a trefoiled 14th century piscina and east of the south doorway is a 15th century stoup with a four-centered head. The west end of the north aisle contains a small quatrefoiled circular window cut from a single stone.

St. John the Baptist, StanbridgeThe west tower is of three stages, delineated by string courses and is topped by an embattled parapet. The eastern arch has continuous mouldings separated by a hollow. The outer moulding is wave and the inner moulding is double ogee. The windows in the belfry have been restored and consist of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil over. In the west wall in a modern doorway with square shouldered head, and over this is a rebuilt window of the same design as the belfry stage windows, but larger. In the stage above this, is a small chamfered rectangular light. The staircase for the tower is located in its south-west angle, and has several small rectangular lights. The clock in the west face of the tower was installed to commemorate the fact that the fifty men of the village that fought in World War One returned home alive. The belfry contains six bells. These are

  • Dated 1637. Bearing the inscription '1637, I. K. (James Keene) + William Prentis C. W.'
  • Dated 1702. Bearing the inscription 'Richard Chandler made me 1702'.
  • Dated 1725. Bearing the inscription 'George Chandler made me 1702'.
  • Dated 1755. Bearing the inscription 'Be it known to all that do me se William Emerton of Wooton made me 1775'.
  • Dated 1807. By John Bryant , Hertfordshire.
  • Dated 1988. A treble bell.

St. John the Baptist, StanbridgeThe first five listed were rehung in 1951.

The chancel and aisle roofs are modern, however, the nave roof does contain some 15th century tie beams, ridge pieces and purlins.

The font, which probably dates from the 13th century, has a plain circular bowl supported on a pedastal formed of three engaged shafts.

Of all the churches in the hamlets originally belonging to Leighton Buzzard parish, Stanbridge is the only one to contain some early monuments. These include one to Henry Homer and his wife (1627 and 1629) and the other to Daniel Ellingham and his wife (1713 and 1723).



  1798 Christopher Ellershaw, on the nomination of John Wilson, Vicar of Leighton Buzzard
  1844 - 1868 G. E. Whyley. Prior to this date he had conducted some services at the church and he was also Vicar of Eaton Bray. He was subsequently appointed Vicar of Stanbridge


  1868 G. E. Whyley. Appointed Vicar under the District Church Tithes Amendment Act 1868.
  1871 Thomas Green, M.A.
  1923 W. St. John Lindars, M.A., B.D.
  1927 E. R. Souper