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St John the Baptist, Wistow, Huntingdonshire

(52°24′43″N, 0°7′15″W)
TL 279 810
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Huntingdonshire
now Cambridgeshire
  • Ron Baxter

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A tall, late-15thc. church with a two-bay aisled nave with a clerestorey and an aisleless chancel. The two-storey W tower has a small lancet in the lower storey, which may thus date from the 13thc., but the upper part is 16thc. The tower is of ashlar but otherwise construction is of brown cobble and flint with remains of mortar render on the clerestorey and aisles. None of the standing fabric dates to the 12thc., but there are remains of an earlier church in the form of carved stones built into the exterior and interior walls. A restoration of 1931-32 is commemorated by a plaque in the S aisle.


Earliest references to the manor (c.969) call it Kingestune, but in 974 it was obtained by Oswald, Archbishop of York and presented to the newly founded abbey at Ramsey. DS records a church with a priest and the parish was clearly of some importance at that time, but by the early 12thc. it had been superseded by Bury of which it became a chapelry. Revenues went to support the office of cellarer at the abbey. The church apparently fell into disrepair at some time in the 12thc. and was rebuilt, traditionally in the abbacy of Robert Trianel (1180-1200). The fragments reset around the church fit ill with this story, indicating a major building programme in the early part of the 12thc. The church was rebuilt in the 1st half of the 14thc. The new chancel was consecrated in 1346, and the remainder was dedicated in 1351. About 1500 it was again rebuilt.

Benefice of Warboys with Broughton and Bury with Wistow.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


While the capital in the S aisle buttress was clearly used as building stone, the fragments reset in the N aisle wall and inside the church were set up for display at some time (possibly during the 1931-32 restoration). The stone assumed to be part of a grave cover (III.3.d.(iii)) is very small for that purpose, and only just large enough for a newborn baby's tomb, but it is difficult to see what else it could have been.

Victoria County History: Huntingdonshire. II (1932).
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, Harmondsworth 1968, 366-67.
RCHM(E), An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. London 1926, 292-94.
M. Simpson, Wistow Cambridgeshire: A Short History of the Church of St John the Baptist and the Village of Wistow, Wistow 1997.