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All Saints, Turvey, Bedfordshire


The church of All Saints is an edifice of stone, chiefly in the Early English style, with traces of Saxon and Norman work with Early Decorated and Perpendicular additions, and consists of chancel, with sacristy and organ chamber on the north, clerestoried nave of five bays, aisles, vestry on the south side of the tower, south porch, and a low embattled western tower, with short pyramidal spire and containing 6 bells and a clock, presented in 1893 by Mr. G. Sargent, a former parishioner: in 1852-4 the church was much enlarged and decorated under the direction of the late Sir G. G. Scott R.A. the cost being defrayed by the late Charles Longuet Higgins esq. lord of the manor, who also presented the very fine organ, at an additional expense of £1,600: the church was re-opened and consecrated anew, Oct. 10, 1854, by the Bishop of Ely: the east window and three others in the chancel are stained: the west window was given by William Bartholomew Higgins esq. of Picts' Hill: at the east end of the south aisle was a chapel of the Virgin: here still remain three Early English sedilia and a piscina: an arched sepulchral recess in the same chapel contains a wall-painting, now glazed for its better preservation, and representing the two Marys at the foot of the cross: the carved oak pulpit was the gift of the Rev. W. B. Russell, a former rector, and the lectern, also of oak, a present from Miss Gorst, of Preston, Lancashire: the font consists of a square-shaped basin, with sides carved in panels, and a massive rim adorned with volute ornaments, and resting on four shafts; it is probably Norman, though three of the panels appear to have been chiselled out at a later period: westward of the south door is a stoup projecting from a recess: two candelabra were given in 1872 by Miss Baker, the then lessee of Turvey House: the north chapel, now converted into an organ chamber, was the burial place of the Mordaunt family, a number of whom are interred in the vaults beneath, including John, Earl of Peterborough, Marshal-General of the Parliamentary forces, who died in 1643, and Charles, Earl of Peterborough and Monmouth K.G. General of the Marines, who died at Lisbon in 1735: in the chapel of St. Mary is an altar-tomb of Purbeck marble, with recumbent effigies, to Sir John Mordaunt kt. who died 11th September, 1506, and Edith (Latimer), his wife: the effigy of Sir John is in armour, over which is a robe, with the collar of SS.; that of his lady is in a long gown and coif; the inscription, now lost, is given in Halstead, and quoted in Harvey's History of Willey Hundred; the sides of the tomb are ornamented with traceried panels inclosing small shields; on the south side of the chancel, in the space between it and the chapel of St. Mary, is the lofty and magnificent monument of John, first Lord Mordaunt, son of the preceding, who died in 1562, and Elizabeth Vere, his wife, with recumbent alabaster effigies of both, on an altar-tomb under a senmi-circular arch, on either side of which are projecting pedestals with pilasters and coupled columns supporting an ornamental frieze and cornice; above this on either side are caryatides in turn supporting a plain pediment surmounted by three female figures; in the space over the cornice is a large quartered shield with crest and supporters; in the north aisle now stands the fine tomb of John, second Lord Mordaunt, who died in April, 1571, and was buried here on the 16th day of May following; it consists of eight stilted columns of the Roman Doric order, supporting a flat canopy, surmounted by a quartered shield, and formerly had eagles holding scrolls at the angles: within on separate altar-bombs, are recumbent figures of Lord Mordaunt and his wives, Eleanor (Fitz-Lewis) and Joan (Farmer}; at the west end of the same aisle is the tomb of Lewis, third Lord Mordaunt, who died June 16, 1601, moved hither from the east end of the north chapel during the restoration; it is a plain altar-tomb raised on two steps, represented in marble as covered with a black pall, fringed with white, on which are affixed inscriptions and shields of arms: at the west end is a large quartered shield with crest, mantling and supporters: on the floor of St. Mary's chapel is a small brass to a member of the Mordaunt family with impaled shield, and a scroll inscribed with a couplet in Latin, and there are two other brasses, one with the figure of an ecclesiastic, and another with arms and inscription to Alice Chubnoll, wife of Richard Bernard esq. 1606; suspended in the aisle are two helmets, a sword, gauntlets, collar and spurs: there are other memorials in the church to the Rev. Legh Richmond M.A., the well-known author of the Dairyman's Daughter, rector (1805-27), his sons, Samuel Nugent Legh, 1824; Thomas Henry Wilberforce, 1825, two infants, and others of his family; the Rev. Erasmus Middleton, rector (1804-5). Rev. Richard Rands, rector (1669-99), and the families of Higgins, Carter, Clarke-Jervoise &c.: the church was repewed in 1846, but has since been completely refitted in oak: the communion plate of silver gilt was presented by Margaret, daughter of the Hon. Henry Mordaunt, in 1788: there are 550 sittings: in the churchyard, adjoining the south wall, is a plain altar-tomb to John Richardson, a faithful retainer of the Mordaunts in the 16th and 17th centuries: a substantial modern lych-gate forms the entrance to the churchyard.

Church Records

The register dates from the year 1629. An earlier book dating from 1606 is now lost.

All Saints

Denomination:Church of England
Diocese:St. Albans