HeritageGateway - Home

Login  |  Register
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > The Historic Environment Record for Bedfordshire Result
The Historic Environment Record for BedfordshirePrintable version | About The Historic Environment Record for Bedfordshire | Visit The Historic Environment Record for Bedfordshire online...

Central Bedfordshire, Bedfordshire Borough Council and Luton Borough Council logo

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.


Name:ST JOHN THE BAPTIST'S CHURCH
HER No.:1059
Type of Record:Listed Building

Summary

Parish church, 15th century. Includes the de Grey family mausoleum (HER9836)

Grid Reference:TL 059 358
Parish:FLITTON AND GREENFIELD, CENTRAL BEDFORDSHIRE, BEDFORDSHIRE
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Full Description

<1> Ministry of Housing and Local Government, 1960, Ampthill Rural District: Provisional List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest, Ref 1882/11/A (Unpublished document). SBD10800.

Early C15 with grey mortuary chapel of 1605, enlarged early C18. Important series of momuments from 1680 to 1859.


<2> Nikolaus Pevsner, 1968, The Buildings of England: Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, pp. 91-92 (Bibliographic reference). SBD10533.

Of ironstone. All probably of between 1440 and 1489 and already a de Grey, Earl of Kent. W tower with higer stair-turret. Embattled nave and aisles. Rood stair-turret. Big Perp s doorway. Perp arcades of three bays. The slender piers have standard mouldings. The chancel arch corresponds. The whole E end is taken up by the de Grey Mausoleum or Mausolea, a whole series of rooms, oddly unreligious in character. The earliest is of 1614, the others are supposed to have been complete by 1705, although the latest room to be filled is all c19. - BENCHES. Perp, the ends buttressed. - GATES to the de Grey Mausoleum. Large, wrought iron, C18. - BRASSES (N wall). Alianora Conquest +1434, a good 29 in figure, headless - Mrs Waren + 1544, a 17in figure.
The DE GREY MAUSOLEUM is one of the greatest store-houses of monuments in England. A pity that it somehow has the storehouse feeling. Few of the many tombs are of the very best quality. The earliest is the brass to Henry Gray +1545, a 27 in figure. - Then follows the monument for which the first room was built: Henry Grey, fifth Earl of Kent, +1614 and wife. Alabaster. Two recumbent effigies. Tomb-chest and back panel. - Next to this, and far more noteworthy, Henry, ninth Earl, erected 1658. Two recumbent white marble effigies. White and grey back wall with two allegorical female figures still entirely in the Nicholas Stone Mannerism. - Of about the same date (w wall) Lady Elizabeth Talbot, erected 1653. Large, very fine reredos-type monument without figures. Open segmental pediment. Ionic columns, and garlandshanging parallel with them. - Lady Jane Hart, dated 1673. White semi-reclining figure. Black and white monument with garlands l and r. Inscription with drapes. Open pediment with shield and garlands. The rest of the mausoleum has a centre, a N, an E, and a s room. In the centre two similar memorials: Lady Amabell de Grey +1727 and Lady Anne de Grey + 1730. Both without figures. - In the N room Anthony de Grey, Earl of Harrold. 1726 by Dowyer. Semi-reclining white figure in Roman dress on a big black sarcophagus. - Also Henrietta de Grey +1716 and Henry de Grey +1717. Identical monuments with steep pyramidal background and semi-reclining effigies. Both white, both very young. - Lady Mary Gregory. Simple. With urn on pedestal. - In the E room the masterpiece: Henry de Grey, Duke of Kent, and two wives, 1740. Designed (and signed) by Edward Shepherdand the effigy of the duke attributed to Rysbrack. To his r a little lower the first wife. No effigy of the second. Very fine back wall with inscription panels. - Opposite Philip, Earl of Hardwicke, +1790. By Banks. Mourning woman seated on the ground by an urn. - IN the s room Henrietta Frances, Countess de Grey, +1848. BY Terence Farrell, 1853. Very large, with an obelisk back. Relief of the covered coffin and the ground in the shallowest relief, tragic, fate-like figures. Up against the obelisk an angel carrying her soul to heaven. - Thomas Philip de Grey, Lord Lucas, +1859. By Matthew Noble. Effigy, white and asleep. - The de Greys' mansion was Wrest Park.


<3> National Monuments Record, NMR Photographs (Photograph). SBD10708.

List of images held by the NMR


<4> Richard Marks, 1974, A Short History and Guide to Flitton Parish Church (Bibliographic reference). SBD11322.

The church itself is of fifteenth century date and seems to have been built in one campaign. The work was probably paid for by Edmund Lord Grey of Ruthin (1440-90), as the spandrels of the porch entrance originally bore shields bearing his arms. The present shields are blank. The only subsequent addition was the large mortuary chapel of the Greys of Wrest Park which contains some very fine funeral monuments. The oldest is a brass of a man clad in armour commemorating Henry Grey, who died in 1545. Nearby is buried another Henry, fifth in the line of earls of Kent, who was laid to rest in 1614. His alabaster effigy and that of his countess Mary still retain much, albeit faded, original colouring, and contrast with the marble monument to the twelfth earl and his two wives. Many other members of the family lie here, and the burials of a number of their household retainers are recorded in the parish registers.


<5> David Baker, Comments & Site Visit notes, 17/10/1973 (Observations and Comments). SBD10964.

No. on map - 7/35


<6> Imperial War Museum - National Inventory of War Memorials Record Sheet, February 1993 (Unpublished document). SBD10682.

War memorial inside church - roll of honour for 1939-1945.


<7> Bedfordshire County Archaeology Service, BCAS Projects and Watching Brief database, Projects database, No 576 (Archaeological Report). SBD10777.

Relatively compacted layers beneath the loose sub-floor fill may represent the top of archaeological deposits. These may originate from earlier phases of use of the church, or perhaps even pre-date the existing structure. The pier bases of the current fifteenth century building cut through some of these deposits and where visible the bases were examined and recorded.
Disarticulated human remains were recovered from the loose fill below the floor and from a charnel pit cut into this. Although the exact date of this grave clearance could not be established the find of a coffin fitting suggests that some of the cleared graves might have been of sixteenth/seventeenth century date.


<8> Jonathan D Edis, 1995, Funerary Monuments in Bedfordshire, 1485-1625, Vol. 2, p. 16 (Unpublished document). SBD10825.

List and description of funerary monuments in the church and mausoleum.


<9> 1985, DoE Mid Beds 55th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, 14/9 (Index). SBD11262.

Parish church. C15. Coursed ironstone rubble with ashlar dressings. Chancel, nave, N and S aisles, S porch, W tower. De Grey family mausoleum (see item 14/10) adjoins to NE, enclosing N and E elevations of chancel. Embattled parapets throughout. Chancel: 3-light E window. Round-headed archway to N elevation gives onto mausoleum. S elevation, rendered and painted to combine with mausoleum, has 2 3-light 3-centred windows flanking pointed-arched doorway. Nave: 3-bay pointed-arched arcades to both sides. Chancel arch in same style. Clerestory has 3 2-light 4-centred windows to each side. Rood staircase to SE angle forms external octagonal stair turret. N aisle N elevation has 2 3-light 4-centred windows to E bays and blocked pointed-archway doorway in square surround to W bay. Single-light window to 'd elevation. S aisle: S elevation has 2 3-light early C16 windows with straight-sided heads. 3-light E window. Pointed-arched S doorway. S porch: pointed arch within square head, the tracery and shields within spandrels reworked C20. W tower: 3 stages, with 4-stage diagonal buttresses to W angles and semi-octagonal stair turret to SE angle. Bell-stage has 2-light windows to each side. W elevation has 3-light window to lower stage. Interior: variety of monuments. To chancel floor is brass to Thomas Hill, receiver general to Earls of Kent, d.1628 aged 101. To N aisle N wall are 2 reset- brasses, one to Eleanor Conquest, d.1434, other to Elizabeth Waren d.1544. To N aisle E wall is brass inscription to Alice Hill, d.1594. Also numerous Cl8 marble wall monuments and floor slabs. Nave and aisles retain original roofs with decorative basses and angels holding shields. Nave retains much original pewing. Chancel N archway to mausoleum contains C18 wrought iron gate with Kent initials incorportated into cresting.


<10> Jonathan D Edis, 1995, Funerary Monuments in Bedfordshire, 1485-1625, Vols. 1 & 2 (Unpublished document). SBD10825.

[no details given]


<11> Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, 73, 1994, pp. 296-300; Bedfordshire Churches in C19: Part 1: Parishes A to G. C Pickford (Ed) (Serial). SBD10681.

C19 descriptions & illustration of church from original records - see volume in Group library.


<12> Chris Pickford, Notes on churches from documents in BLARS, Notes for BHRS (Unpublished document). SBD10801.

Notes compiled for 3 BHRS C19 Church Volume


<13> South Midlands Archaeology, Vol. 30, 2000, p. 2 (Serial). SBD10576.

Two separate episodes of archaeological recording were undertaken at the Church of St John the Baptist.


<14> Victoria County History, Bedfordshire, Vol. 2 pp. 331-332 (Article in serial). SBD10574.

Detailed description of the church.


<15> Bedfordshire Times, £10,000 bid to save old church; 13/2/1976 (Newspaper Article). SBD10544.

A village's 500 year old parish church is in such a serious state of disrepair that it will need more than £10,000 to stop it from becomin a ruin. Much of the stone structure of St John the Baptist Church at Flitton has already been taken down as a dafety measure. The vicar, the Rev. Peter Millam said: "You could move some of the stones by pushing them with a finger."


<16> Ampthill News, Nature window marks 21 years of service; 10/10/1978 (Newspaper Article). SBD10587.

A stained glass window in memory of a churchwarden with 21 years service was dedicated at Flitton Parish Church on Sunday. Dr Eric Roberts, who lived at Wardhedges, Flitton, died in 1975 aged 65, and was churchwarden for 21 years.


<17> South Midlands Archaeology, Vol. 35, 2005, p. 9 (Serial). SBD10576.

Much of the church's foundation was exposed, consisting primarily of ironstone blocks in a creamy mortar. At the west end of the south aisle under the buttress the foundation was wider than would have been expected. This masonry continued round to support the stair turret.


<18> English Heritage, 1984-1992, GRANTS 1984-1992, A list of repair grants offered by English Heritage to buildings and monuments of outstanding national importance, p. 30 (Bibliographic reference). SBD11635.

Grant of £6341 towards cost of repairs to the north and south aisle windows.


<19> Gentleman's Magazine, 1821, No. 1, pp. 393-395 (Article in serial). SBD10741.

Not remarkable & much..of repair. Some remains of early glass in upper part of aisle windows. 5 monumental chapels. 1 built c200 years ago is collateral with chapel. 4 others of Grecian architecture of c1707.


<20> Bedfordshire & Luton Archives and Records Service Documents, BLARS: Slides 722,724-726, 1590, 1743, 2247-2259 (Unpublished document). SBD10551.

[No details]


<21> HER Photograph Archive, No ref/date (Photograph). SBD10506.

Two black & white images of exterior of church


<22> HER Photograph Archive, F476/6a-22a (Photograph). SBD10506.

Colour images of interior and exterior of church


<23> HER Photograph Archive, F1131/6 + 14 (Photograph). SBD10506.

Photos of brass monument to Charles Grey and brass monument to Alice Hill.


<24> HER Photograph Archive, F1013/6A, April 1993 (Photograph). SBD10506.

Colour image of exterior of church


<25> HER Photograph Archive, PU206/1975 (Photograph). SBD10506.

Black & white images of exterior of church


<26> HER Slide Archive, 7713 (Slide). SBD10508.

Colour image of exterior of church, focussed on tower


<27> Bedfordshire Magazine, Vol. 13 No. 98, pp. 54-57 (Serial). SBD10543.

Same as ref (4)


<28> Bedfordshire County Council, Planning Dept File, William Lack: Monumental Brass Repairs and Conservation (Unpublished document). SBD11426.

Report on the condition of the brasses, 20/11/1990


<29> Bedfordshire County Archaeology Service, BCAS Projects and Watching Brief database, 576 (Archaeological Report). SBD10777.

Relatively compacted layers beneath the loose sub-floor fill may represent the top of archaeological deposits. These may originate from earlier phases of use of the church, or perhaps even pre-date the existing sturcture. The pier bases of the current fifteenth century building cut through some of these deposits and where visible the bases were examined and recorded.
Disarticulated human remains were recovered from the loose fill below the floor and from a charnel pit cut into this. Although the exact nature of this grave clearance could not be established the find of a coffin fitting suggests that some of the cleared graves might have been of sixteenth/seventeenth century date.


<30> Bedfordshire County Archaeology Service, BCAS Projects and Watching Brief database (Archaeological Report). SBD10777.

Deposits of both demolition and construction debris were observed. Where visible, the foundations for buttresses appeared to be unusually wide. Furthermore, trenching next to the church did not expose undisturbed geological levels. However, it was not possible to determine whether or not the wall foundations themselves had been built on "made-up" ground.


<31> Northamptonshire Archaeology, 2006, An archaeological watching brief during the excavation of a French drain around the perimeter of the church of St John the Baptist, Flitton, 06/48 (Archaeological Report). SBD12507.

Much of the church's foundation was exposed, consisting primarily of ironstone blocks in a creamy mortar. At the west end of the south aisle under the buttress the foundation was wider than would have been expected. This masonry continued round to support the stair turret. The area by the north side of the tower was not disturbed due to the presence of modern cremations.


<32> Stuart Blythe, Photographs of war memorials taken during systematic recording project, February 1993 (Photograph). SBD12479.

Two colour photographs, one of freestanding granite monument in churchyard and another of oak framed roll of honour inside church.

Protected Status:

  • Conservation Area: Flitton Conservation Area
  • Listed Building (I) 14/9: Church of Saint John the Baptist

Monument Types

  • COMMEMORATIVE BRASS (15th Century to 17th Century - 1400 AD to 1699 AD)
  • PARISH CHURCH (15th Century - 1400 AD to 1499 AD)
  • CHARNEL PIT (16th Century to 17th Century - 1500 AD? to 1699 AD?)
  • COFFIN (16th Century to 17th Century - 1500 AD to 1699 AD)
  • PLAQUE (18th Century - 1700 AD to 1799 AD)
  • WAR MEMORIAL (TRIBUTE) (20th Century to 21st Century - 1939 AD to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds

  • FBD3936 - HUMAN REMAINS (16th Century to 17th Century - 1500 AD to 1699 AD)

Associated Events

  • EBD1052 - An archaeological watching brief during the excavation of a French drain around the perimeter of the church of St John the Baptist, Flitton (Ref: 06/48)
  • EBD688 - St John the Baptist Church, Flitton (Ref: 576)
  • EBD689 - Church of St John the Baptist, Flitton

Sources and Further Reading

[1]SBD10800 - Unpublished document: Ministry of Housing and Local Government. 1960. Ampthill Rural District: Provisional List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest. Ref 1882/11/A.
[2]SBD10533 - Bibliographic reference: Nikolaus Pevsner. 1968. The Buildings of England: Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough. pp. 91-92.
[3]SBD10708 - Photograph: National Monuments Record. NMR Photographs.
[4]SBD11322 - Bibliographic reference: Richard Marks. 1974. A Short History and Guide to Flitton Parish Church.
[5]SBD10964 - Observations and Comments: David Baker. Comments & Site Visit notes. 17/10/1973.
[6]SBD10682 - Unpublished document: Imperial War Museum - National Inventory of War Memorials Record Sheet. February 1993.
[7]SBD10777 - Archaeological Report: Bedfordshire County Archaeology Service. BCAS Projects and Watching Brief database. Projects database, No 576.
[8]SBD10825 - Unpublished document: Jonathan D Edis. 1995. Funerary Monuments in Bedfordshire, 1485-1625. Vol. 2, p. 16.
[9]SBD11262 - Index: 1985. DoE Mid Beds 55th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. 14/9.
[10]SBD10825 - Unpublished document: Jonathan D Edis. 1995. Funerary Monuments in Bedfordshire, 1485-1625. Vols. 1 & 2.
[11]SBD10681 - Serial: Bedfordshire Historical Record Society. Bedfordshire Historical Record Society. 73, 1994, pp. 296-300; Bedfordshire Churches in C19: Part 1: Parishes A to G. C Pickford (Ed).
[12]SBD10801 - Unpublished document: Chris Pickford. Notes on churches from documents in BLARS. Notes for BHRS.
[13]SBD10576 - Serial: South Midlands Archaeology. Vol. 30, 2000, p. 2.
[14]SBD10574 - Article in serial: Victoria County History, Bedfordshire. Vol. 2 pp. 331-332.
[15]SBD10544 - Newspaper Article: Bedfordshire Times. £10,000 bid to save old church; 13/2/1976.
[16]SBD10587 - Newspaper Article: Ampthill News. Nature window marks 21 years of service; 10/10/1978.
[17]SBD10576 - Serial: South Midlands Archaeology. Vol. 35, 2005, p. 9.
[18]SBD11635 - Bibliographic reference: English Heritage. 1984-1992. GRANTS 1984-1992, A list of repair grants offered by English Heritage to buildings and monuments of outstanding national importance. p. 30.
[19]SBD10741 - Article in serial: Gentleman's Magazine. 1821, No. 1, pp. 393-395.
[20]SBD10551 - Unpublished document: Bedfordshire & Luton Archives and Records Service Documents. BLARS: Slides 722,724-726, 1590, 1743, 2247-2259.
[21]SBD10506 - Photograph: HER Photograph Archive. No ref/date.
[22]SBD10506 - Photograph: HER Photograph Archive. F476/6a-22a.
[23]SBD10506 - Photograph: HER Photograph Archive. F1131/6 + 14.
[24]SBD10506 - Photograph: HER Photograph Archive. F1013/6A, April 1993.
[25]SBD10506 - Photograph: HER Photograph Archive. PU206/1975.
[26]SBD10508 - Slide: HER Slide Archive. 7713.
[27]SBD10543 - Serial: Bedfordshire Magazine. Vol. 13 No. 98, pp. 54-57.
[28]SBD11426 - Unpublished document: Bedfordshire County Council. Planning Dept File. William Lack: Monumental Brass Repairs and Conservation.
[29]SBD10777 - Archaeological Report: Bedfordshire County Archaeology Service. BCAS Projects and Watching Brief database. 576.
[30]SBD10777 - Archaeological Report: Bedfordshire County Archaeology Service. BCAS Projects and Watching Brief database.
[31]SBD12507 - Archaeological Report: Northamptonshire Archaeology. 2006. An archaeological watching brief during the excavation of a French drain around the perimeter of the church of St John the Baptist, Flitton. 06/48. 06/48.
[32]SBD12479 - Photograph: Stuart Blythe. Photographs of war memorials taken during systematic recording project. February 1993.