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St Denis, Little Barford, Bedfordshire

(52°11′51″N, 0°16′40″W)
Little Barford
TL 178 569
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Bedfordshire
now Bedfordshire
  • Hazel Gardiner

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Feature Sets

The original 12thc. church consisted of an aisleless nave and chancel. A N arcade was added in the early 14thc. and there is a 15thc. W tower. The church was restored in 1834, and in 1869, when the chancel was rebuilt. The nave and N aisle were repaired in 1871. There are reset, plain, round-headed windows on E and W walls of the N aisle, 12thc. according to VCH, although the E window is pointed on the exterior. 12thc. sculpture survives on the S doorway.


The Domesday Survey does not mention a church at Little Barford, but records that land was held there by the Bishop of Ramsey and by Osbert, son of Walter. VCH records that the Abbey of Ramsey held the church before and after the conquest (VCH, 207).

A papal bull of 1178 confirms the church to the Abbot of Ramsey, although between 1133-60 Hugh de Beauchamp took the manor without the Abbey's consent, eventually surrendering it in 1194 (VCH, 207).


Exterior Features



An etching by Fisher, dated 23 August 1815 shows the doorway set within a porch. VCH notes that S and N porches were removed in the 1834 restoration. The stoup, which in the print is set into the porch wall, is reset to the R of the doorway.

VCH suggests that a N aisle may have existed prior to the 14thc. as is suggested by the traces of a pitched roof, steeper than the existing roof, which survive in the E and W walls. It also suggests that the small round-headed plain windows at E and W ends of the N aisle may have belonged to the 12thc. N nave wall.

In the 1834 restoration a 14thc. S chapel was pulled down. A vestry and organ chamber, built in the 1869 restoration now occupy this space.

Domesday Book: Bedfordshire, Ed. J. Morris, Chichester, 1977, 8, 5; 45, 1.
The Victoria County History: A History of the County of Bedford, London, 1908, 2:207-09.
T. Fisher, Collections, Historical, Genealogical and Topographical for Bedfordshire, London, 1812-36.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, London, 1968, 112.