Detail from the Last Supper stained glass window in All Saints Parish Church Croydon, in memory of Sophia Mirabella Sandilands, wife of the rector 1859 'An Account of all the Inhabitants of the Parish of Croydon
in the County of Cambridgeshire commencing from 1 January 1843'
by Reverend Francis Fulford 1803-1868 (Rector at Croydon 1841-1845).
Additional notes by Reverend R S B Sandilands (Rector 1845-1864).
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All Saints Parish Church, Croydon 2006
All Saints Parish Church, Croydon
(May 6, 2006)
Image courtesy and © Copyright jmc4-Church Explorer
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The Nave looking east towards the Chancel.

12th century font from the previous church at Croydon.

The leaning south aisle and south transept.

The Church Organ

Interior looking west - the wagon ceiling replaced the collapsing post mediaeval plasterwork (with leadshot in the rafters) in 2005.

The 'Last Supper' window over the altar in memory of Sophia Mirabella Sandilands, wife of the rector 1859

Window to South Aisle alongside the Porch

Gravestones in the Churchyard - Simons family

Gravestone in the Churchyard - William Stanton Ellis and family

 
All Saints Parish Church, Croydon
(c1910)
All Saints is a small gem amongst parish churches. Tucked away on the hill above the village of Croydon, parts of the structure date back some seven hundred years to the early 14th century. The interior walls and ceiling are simple plain lime-wash with little decoration and few monuments, and the pews are Jacobean. The Revd Francis Fulford and his "Speculum Gregis" congregation would probably feel completely at home in the church as it exists today. Perhaps the only obvious change to them would be the stained glass in the Chancel windows, installed as memorials to the Revd R S B Sandilands and his family in the 1860s. The vault beneath All Saints contains the remains of members of the Downing Family who founded Downing College in Cambridge and who gave their name to Downing Street in London.
The following text is adapted from the Church Guide and other sources:
All Saints
The Parish Church of Croydon in Cambridgeshire.
The fabric of the Church, dedicated to All Saints, consists of a central nave laid east-west with side arcades and transeptal chapels, chancel, west tower and timber framed porch. The walls are constructed of field stones, clunch and brick with clunch and freestone dressings. The roofs are tiled. Various styles of architecture can be seen, from the early 14th century south arcade (with its disconcerting leaning arches) to the chancel which was rebuilt in brick in 1685 (see plan below). The church building is Grade 11* listed (22 November 1967).
Plan Copyright: English Heritage www.british-history.ac.uk/
The Tower and Bells
The rectangular tower was added in the late 14th or early 15th century and lies at the western end of the nave.
In 1530 John Wright left 20 pence in his will to mend a broken bell, and in 1552 it was recorded that there were two bells and a Sanctus bell. In 1558 William Godfrey bequeathed ten shillings in his will to buy a new bell. On 25 April 1698 an old metal bell was sold for nineteen shillings, and in 1701,
£6.15s 0d was spent on bell metal.
There are three bell pits in he tower although there is only one bell at present, bearing the inscription "J Briant Hertford. Fecit 1786". The current bell wheel was made by Robert King of Ashwell and installed in the belfry in 1981.
In 1990, the tower underwent an extensive restoration. The sum of one hundred and seventy thousand pounds was spent replacing and resetting the stonework from top to bottom, making good decayed stonework and separated buttresses. The renovation was recognised as a magnificent example of modern craftsmanship, the new work blending admirably with the old. On inspection, no work was found to be necessary to the original tower foundations, a tribute to the skill of the builders 600 years ago.
The restoration of the tower was the final work before his death of architect Cecil Bourne of Swaffham Bulbeck. The contractors were F A Valiant and Sons of Bury St Edmunds.









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The Nave and Arcades
The nave was built (perhaps rebuilt) in the 14th century. The existing floor is of terracotta tiles, but evidence of an earlier floor of grey flagstones was discovered during recent levelling work to the tiles in the central aisle.
The Font, Croydon Parish Church
The pews are Jacobean and the pulpit consists of Jacobean panels set in a gothic frame.
The tie beams to the roof are understood to be original. Until the advent of electricity, the church was illuminated by brass oil lamps suspended from these beams.
The font (right) is a square limestone bowl dating from the 12th century which rests on a newer base. Each corner of the bowl is carved with a vertical double roll. There are major repairs to cracks on the east and north faces, while the inside of the basin has been drastically reduced in size with mortar and a new lead lining fitted. (Photograph Copyright © The British Academy and Ron Baxter)
The nave has an arcade either side separated from the main span by open arches. The south arcade is said to be the earliest part of the Church (c1300) and the arches lean quite noticeably inwards towards the nave.
The north arcade is believed to be of a later date and traces of early wall paintings can be seen over the second pillar.
The South Aisle, Croydon Parish Church
© Ben Colburn & Mark Ynys-Mon
The South Transeptal Chapel
This side chapel is of 14th century origin. A pair of niches with moulded jambs and cinquefoil heads flanks the east window. A piscina with moulded jambs and cinquefoil ogee head with a rectangular drain, can be seen at the east end of the south wall.
The Chancel
The Chancel was rebuilt in 1685, probably by the second Sir George Downing, in red brick with Grecian windows. The original pitch of the roof (divided into three bays by collar beams with ogee braces) was retained.
The three stained glass windows either side of the main alter were installed in the 19th century as a memorial to the Rev R S B Sandilands and members of his family.
During 2002, extensive repairs costing c£80000 were carried out on the chancel roof. Steel sections were added within the structure to strengthen broken timbers and the chancel roof was completely re-tiled using a mixture of original and new tiles.
The Plate
A paten, dated London 1709 and a chalice dated 1841 were both inscribed and presented to Croydon church in 1842 by the Rev Francis Fulford (Rector 1841-1845), the writer of the "Speculum Gregis". Rev Fulford later became the first Bishop of Montreal in Canada.
Other plate includes a pewter dish with a Norwich mark and a cup and flagon dating from the late 17th or early 18th century, which were presented to the church by the Rev R S B Sandilands (Rector 1845-1864), who updated Fulford's "Speculum Gregis" until 1848.
Memorial to the Downing Family
"In a vault beneath the chancel are buried with other members of the Downing family Sir GEORGE DOWNING 1st baronet who died in 1684 & Sir GEORGE DOWNING 3rd baronet founder of Downing College Cambridge who died in 1740"
  The vault beneath All Saints contains the remains of members of the Downing Family who founded Downing College in Cambridge and who gave their name to Downing Street in London. Three hundred years ago, much of the present day parish of Croydon was owned by the Downing estate. The family had a large house in Gamlingay, which is located a few miles from Croydon.
The family origins appear to have been around Beccles in Suffolk with Sir George Downing (1632-1684) the first Baronet. He was the son of an Ipswich headmaster, though he was born in Dublin. Sir George rose rapidly from obscurity to wealth and power. He was said to have had extraordinary ambition and energy and his ruthlessness and unscrupulousness were notorious.
The first Sir George Downing was the builder of Downing Street in London, the short thoroughfare that now houses the official residences of the British Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Numbers 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street still retain the original facade as built by Downing between 1682 and 1684.
As the family rise was meteoric, so the fall was almost as quick. When the third Sir George Downing (1684-1749) died childless he bequeathed his estate to found Downing College, Cambridge, but only if his nephew Sir Jacob Downing and three cousins in succession were also to die without issue.
Somewhat surprisingly, they couldn't come up with an heir between them, and so after a long legal battles over the estate, Downing College was finally granted its royal charter in 1800.
Remarkably, the three Sir George Downings, Sir Jacob Downing, their wives and some of their children are all buried in the vault under the chancel floor of Croydon Parish Church. A memorial plaque was erected on the north wall of the chancel in 1962 (left).
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Links and Reference
Cambridgeshire Churches - A personal take on All Saints', Croydon.
The Benefice of the Orwell Group - Benefice Website.
Window detail, Croydon Parish Church
Croydon, Cambridgeshire - Wikipedia entry.
Sir George Downing (1632-1684) the first Baronet - Wikipedia entry.
Sir George Downing (1684-1749) the third Baronet - Wikipedia entry.
History of 10 Downing Street - the official No 10 site.
History of 10 Downing Street - Wikipedia entry.
C. H. Evelyn-White, County Churches: Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. London 1911, 57.
W. M. Palmer, "A History of Clopton, Cambridgeshire", Cambridge Antiquarian Society Proceedings and Communications, XXXIII, 1933.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Cambridgeshire, Harmondsworth 1954 (2nd edition. 1970), 327-28.
RCHM, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Cambridge. Volume 1. West Cambridgeshire. London 1968, 71-74.
CROYDON CHURCH LANE TL 34NW (West side) 8/24 Church of All Saints 22.11.67 GV II* Parish church. C13 nave and C14 north and south aisles. C14-C15 west tower and later C17 or early C18 chancel. Fieldstone, brick, clunch rubble and dressed clunch. Tiled roofs. West tower, nave with north and south aisles and chancel. West tower of three stages. Parapet with main cornice and central gargoyle. Later diagonal buttressing. Newel stair turret in south west corner. Four centre arch to west window of two cinquefoil lights. Bell stage has two openings with trefoil heads in two centred arch. Nave without clerestory. South aisle probably rebuilt C14, but in origin C13. Fieldstone repaired in brick. Two cinquefoil light windows in square heads. Clunch. South doorway of two continuous moulded orders in two centred arch. South chapel, C14 origin, restored. South and East windows each of three cinquefoil lights in square head. Roof and gable end rebuilt. Three shields of arms reset in brickwork to gable end. Chancel c.1687, remodelled 1867. Fieldstone and brick with Ketton limestone dressings of C19. Interior: South arcade C13. Four bays of two chamfered orders in two centred aisles on octagonal columns with moulded capital and base. The bay at the west end was blocked and part fenestrated when the west tower was added in C15. North arcade c.1300 of four bays and two centred arches. Two chamfered orders with broach stops on octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases. The roof of the south chapel has been rebuilt. In the east wall are two C14 niches with foiled heads flanking a three-light window. There is no chancel arch. Font: C12 bowl of limestone. Rectangular bowl with double rolls at the angles and plain bands at top and bottom. (Royal Commission Historical Monuments: West Cambs mon (1) VCH: Cambs vol V).
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This concluding paragraph is an simple appeal for your help and support in saving All Saints, the parish church where Francis Fulford was Rector. In recent years, Croydon's church has received generous support from English Heritage, the Cambridge Historic Churches Trust and the Historic Churches Trust. Further support and   financial help has also been received from local organisations, friends and individual parishioners. Indeed it has needed a huge community effort to keep this historic medieval church open. Further extensive works are required if the future of this beautiful building is to be secured.
All Saints Parish Church c1905   All Saints Parish Church c2005
Please support All Saints Parish Church!
All donations, however large or small, would be greatly appreciated. Donations and enquiries should be sent to:
  Revd Felicity Couch, The Rectory, 8 Fishers Lane, Orwell, Royston, Cambridgeshire SG8 5QX, United Kingdom.
Cheques should be made payable to 'Croydon PCC'.
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© Website and Transcription Copyright Steve Odell 2002-2014. 
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