UFFORD : CHURCH OF ST PETER.

Church Post Code PE9 3BS

REDUNDANT. CARED FOR BY CHURCHES CONSERVATION TRUST. OPEN TO VISITORS.

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This page is being revised during December 2021, some 15 years after I made my first visit to the church of St Andrew, Ufford.  It is just a mile as the crow flies over the flies to my home and I have visited fairly regularly over the years. Very pleasant memories of standing to the east of the church with David and a lady from the church, watching the sun set; taking several photos, each of which was different in some subtle way.

    Sadly, the church here, along with the church of St Peter at Tickencote, are similar in that they were open for worship when my original website started back in 2006, but have since closed, with each now being cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust.

    I very often speak to people associated with their churches and in many, congregations are getting older, with less people able to do the work involved in keeping these churches open. I fear that this is a trend that will continue, and it hurts to say that.

Ufford is a small and very pleasant village, with a population of around 200 or so, which can be found in the north west corner of Cambridgeshire. It is roughly five miles from Peterborough to the south east and Stamford to the north west.

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    The church of St Andrew can be found on high ground to the south of the village. There are some lovely views to be had, looking out across the village itself and out over the fields. The church is set back a little from the main road, with a path leading to the church from the east. A bench is placed outside the chancel; a very pleasant place to sit and rest with a book and a pack up.

    The church here, when used for worship, was always open and welcoming. It was closed when the CCT took it over for refurbishment and now it is open again daily. It consists of west tower, nave with north and south aisles, south porch and chancel. There is no clerestory here. Most of the structure that we see today dates from the 14th century.

The perpendicular west tower is battlemented and buttressed, with some very weathered gargoyles around the top. One of these pulls open his mouth in medieval gesture of insult, as do some of the carvings on the bench ends do inside.

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Moving inside, my attention was drawn to a finely carved font, dating back to the 15th century. A couple of what appears to be coffin slabs looked to be far older than that. The four light east window has tinted glass.

    St Andrew’s church is probably best known for three things, a superb collection of medieval bench ends, some early 20th century arts and crafts stained glass and a monument to  Lady Bridget Carre who was Lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I

Starting off with the bench ends, these feature a collection of grotesque faces, several of which have their tongues stuck out in medieval gesture of insult. They are similar in design to others seen locally, such as at St Remigius, Water Newton. I would think that the ones seen here represent the best collection local to Peterborough.

On the north wall of the chancel is a memorial to one Dame Bridgett Lady Carre. Dame Bridgett has been reclining on her pillow, Bible in hand, since 1621. She had served both Queen Elizabeth I and  Anne of Denmark. Sadly, there is damage to this memorial with one finger on the left hand missing and damage to the face. A lovely monument though, with the inscription reading as follows....

Here lyeth buryed the body of Dame Bridgett, Lady Carre, widowe, daughter of Sir John Chaworth of Wiverton in the County of Nottingham, Knight, late wife of Sir William Carre of Sleaforde in the County of Lincoln, Knight. Who served the late Queen Elizabeth, of most famous memory, being on of the gentlewomen of her Majestie's  Pryve Chamber of the space of five and twenty years, and afterwards served the nost renowned Queen Anne, wife of our most gracious Sovereign King James for the space of fourteen years; being the residue of her life, and dyed the 18th day of april, being the age of 79 yeaarrs. The which said Lady Carre out of her love to her dear sister Katherine, wife of George Quarles of this town of Ufforde, esquiere, hath caused her body to be here interred. 1621  My spell checker did not like much of that inscription!

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The stained glass has bright, vibrant colours. Bible scenes depicted include Jesus about to be baptised by John the Baptist, the feeding of the 3,000 or 5,000 and Jesus instructing Peter to re cast their nets in to the water.

A further panel just shows Peter, holding a fishing net. Underneath is the Latin ‘Via Crucis Via Lucis’ which translates as the way of the cross the way of light.

   There are four bells hanging here, although at the time of North's mid Victorian study of the church bells of Northamptonshire, there were only three. One bell was originally dated 1870 and is inscribed "God Save The King". This was re-cast by Taylor of Loughborough in 1896, at which time they added a fourth bell, but I am struggling to establish who the original founder was,

  At the time of North's study, it was uncertain who cast the remaining two bells, but it was known that they were extremely old.  According to the National Church Bell Database, both of these were cast around 1430 by R Hille in London. This is a founder that I have not come across before and an internet search has not turned up any information on him.

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The church grounds have an interesting selection of 18th century gravestones, with many of these badly weathered but finely crafted. One depicts a faded hourglass and crossed human bones. Both are symbols of the mortality of Man. The hourglass symbolises the passing of time ‘Tempus Fugit’ time flies. The crossed bones are a symbol of mortality.  There is nothing of great rarity or importance to be fair but it interesting to look around.

There was a Bible open on the lectern; it was open to Ecclesiastes Chapter 3. The chapter heading reads ‘Everything Hs Its Time’. Sadly this appears to be true for the church of St Peter here. Its time for organised worship has passed but it has passed in to the hands of people who will care for it in retirement. Closed for worship but still loves.

If you are planning on visiting here, please check the Ufford page on the Churches Conservation Trust website to check opening times.

The photographs at the foot of the page are from a previous visit; a glorious sunset at the end of a warm summer day.

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f you would like to see more Churches Conservation Trust churches, click on the photograph immediately above left to be directed to the church of St Peter, Tickencote. Click on the photograph above right to be directed to Steeple Gidding.