Marston Moretaine Church, Bedfordshire

Marston Moretaine Church is perhaps the most interesting in all of Bedfordshire. Both externally and internally the Church has many unusual features. Chief amongst these is the detached tower, something unique in Bedfordshire and quite unusual in general. This tower has particularly thick footings and is thought to be partly defensive – or at the very least useable as a refuge.

The Church began life in the Saxon period, but nothing any earlier than the 15th Century survives today. The area of Marston Vale grew rich on the production of bricks which enable the church to grow in importance.

Inside you will find one of England’s best preserved “Doom” paintings – that is a painting of the Last Judgment and the separation of the souls. From the same period is a superb medieval painted rood screen. The church also has ‘squints’ (small slanted windows) from the Reynes Chapel into the Chancel which are often called “leper’s squints” as the implication is that lepers could watch the service through the squint without coming into contact with the rest of the congregation. A more prosaic version is that the squint was used by the clergy to time their entry into the service.

The Church, village and nearby Marston Vale Forest Millennium Park make this one of Bedfordshire’s most pleasing distractions and certainly worth a quick detour to see.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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