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St Mary the Virgin, Carlton, Bedfordshire

(52°11′2″N, 0°36′32″W)
SP 952 549
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Bedfordshire
now Bedfordshire
  • Hazel Gardiner

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Feature Sets

The church has chancel, nave with clerestory, N and S aisles, W tower and S porch. The chancel is the earliest part of the church and is probably Anglo-Saxon. There is a blocked, round-headed, possibly double-splayed window in the N wall of the chancel with rubble jambs and head, which support an early date (Hare, 33). The tower is probably late 11thc. or early 12thc. There are two round-headed windows with arcuated lintels and rubble jambs, one on the N and one on the S wall of the ground stage of the tower. The S aisle was added in 1275 and the N aisle in 1310. The chancel was lengthened in 1330. The upper stages of the tower are 15thc. A 14thc. S chapel, now demolished, was attached to the chancel. The clerestorey is 15thc. 12thc. sculpture is found only on the font.


The Domesday Survey does not mention a church at Carlton, but records that the Bishop of Bayeux (half-brother to William I; Osbern Fisher; the King's Reeves, Beadles and Almsmen; and Nigel de Aubigny had land there. Nigel de Aubigny's land was initially held by Ketel (Chetel) and in the 12thc. went to the La Leigh family (VCH, 51) In 1206 Gerinus de Leigh, Lord of Carlton Manor, held the advowson.





VCH suggests a date of c.1130 for the font. The Carlton Church guide notes that the font was damaged 'during Cromwell's time'.

Domesday Book: Bedfordshire, ed. J. Morris, Chichester, 1977, 2, 7; 24, 20; 46, 2; 57, 6.
St Mary's Church, Carlton. Church guide, n.d., n.p.
The Victoria County History: A History of the County of Bedford, London, 1912, 3: 49-54.
M. Hare, 'Anglo Saxon Work at Carlton and other Bedfordshire Churches', Bedfordshire Archaeological Journal, 6, 1971, 33-35.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, London, 1968, 65.