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St Andrew's Parish Church, Wimpole
Some History and Information about the Memorials.
[See also the Chicheley Chapel page]

St Andrew's Parish Church, Wimpole
St Andrew's Parish Church, Wimpole
St Andrew's Parish Church.
A living church for the Parish of Wimpole, located within the National Trust's
Wimpole Hall Estate.
The Church is managed and maintained by the Parochial Church Council

St Andrew's Parish Church, together with the Rectory and the Stable Block, make a close-knit group alongside Wimpole Hall. The Church and the former Rectory have always been an integral part of the Wimpole estate, indeed they were once the centre of a whole village. Today, no other houses stand nearby, a legacy of the long process of settlement changes and the extension of the estate parkland.
The present Parish Church of St Andrew's consists of two distinct buildings with separate histories. The Chicheley Chantry or Chapel dates from 1390 and much of the original structure still remains. The nave and chancel of the modern Church building date from 1749 after a medieval Church on the same site was completely demolished. The Chapel (mostly) survived the demolition although it was opened up to the body of the nave during the rebuilding.
The Church Building
The present Church consists of a structurally undivided Chancel and Nave, opening to the Chicheley Chapel on the North side. The walls are mostly of brick with freestone and clunch dressings, but the west end and the adjoining last bays of either side wall are in freestone and clunch ashlar, as is the Chicheley Chapel. The roofs are slated.
The Chicheley Chapel is the earliest part of the church and believed to be of 14th century origin It is understood to have been founded around 1390 as the Chantry of Sir William de Staundon. A Chantry was a chapel or other part of a church endowed for a priest or priests to celebrate masses for the founder's soul. Sir William de Staundon owned "a mansion house" in Wimpole and he was a Master of the Grocer's Company. He had also been Lord Mayor of London in 1392 and 1407. According to the terms of his will, Sir William and his first wife Elizabeth are both buried at Wimpole.
In 1428 the Wimpole estate was acquired by one Henry Chichele, then Archbishop of Canterbury. For the next two hundred and fifty years the Chicheley family [now spelt with a 'y'] gradually bought up the surrounding Cambridgeshire estates and began to use the Church for their own family interests.
The Church Bell, mounted in the cupola above above the west front is said to be by Miles Graye, dated 1653
The main structure of the present Church dates from 1748, when a somewhat larger medieval Church was completely demolished (with the exception of the Chicheley Chapel), and then rebuilt to the designs of Henry Flitcroft at a recorded cost of £1107. 17s. 4d.
The detail (left) is from Kip's engraving of Wimpole in 1707 and shows the medieval church building. A ground plan of the original Church can be seen in a book of drawings at Wimpole Hall. There has been some conjecture that the stones and masonry from the medieval church were stored and later used to build the Gothic Folly on the estate.
The contemporary Parish Register has this note: "March 25th 1748. The old Parish Church was on that day begun to be pulled down, and the outside of the new one was completely finished by the end of August. In July 1749 the inside was completed, and it was for the first time made use of for Divine Service on the 27th of August. The whole was done at the sole expense of the Right Honourable Philip Lord Hardwicke, Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain".
What Flitcroft built for Lord Chancellor Hardwicke was essentially an aisleless brick box with a pedimented west end, stone-faced and topped by a bellcote. However, in the later nineteenth century, much of the exterior and interior of the Church were remodelled in the 'gothic' fashion.
Designs for the remodelling survive, signed by George Evans in 1868, but it is believed the changes were not fully completed until 1887.
The work included reducing the openingh between the Chicheley Chapel and the nave, some restoration of the fabric of the building, the remodelling of the south door and of all of the windows on the South side (with the exception of the window above the door), together with the gothicising of the piers supporting the Lord's Gallery.
After the 1939-45 war, Mrs Bambridge (last private owner of the Wimpole estate) carried through a further restoration of the Church, which included refacing some of the stonework, removing the pews from the Chicheley Chapel.
The Nave and Chancel
(West Wall - Lord's Gallery)
The Lord's Gallery above the entrance has three windows containing 47 shields of arms of the Yorke family and their connections, set against patterned backgrounds, said to be by William Peckett (died 1795). In the head of the west window is an achievement of arms of Philip Yorke (1690-1764), 1st Earl of Hardwicke, who purchased Wimpole in 1740; the other shields are emblazoned with the arms of Yorke of Bewerley.
[In his recollections of the 1860's in his essay "Wimpole As I Knew It", the Rev A C Yorke wrote: "The old lord (the 4th Earl of Hardwicke) and his family sat in the gallery, carpeted and furnished as a comfortable room. Across the south-west corner of it was a fireplace. Round its crackling fire the family drew their chairs in winter for the sermon. Sometimes the old lord made a desperate clatter, stoking and poking. Not seldom he knocked all the fire irons down with a clash. This was chaffingly taken by my father (the Rev Henry Yorke, then rector to Wimpole Parish Church, and brother to the Earl) as a signal that the sermon was getting too long".]
(South Wall)
On the South side of the Nave is a memorial sculptured by J Flaxman to the Hon Agneta Johnston (died 1820), second wife of the Rt. Hon Charles Yorke (1722-1770), Lord Chancellor, seen in the robes of state with his two sons. Monumental Inscription.
Agneta was the mother of the Rt Hon Charles Yorke (1764-1834), First Lord of the Admiralty, who died eight months before he would have inherited Wimpole and the title. Agneta's second son was Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke KCB (1768-1831), the father of the eventual 4th Earl, Charles Philip Yorke (1799-1873).
On the South wall of the Chancel is a memorial (right) to Flora Elizabeth Yorke (died 1852) and two of her children. Flora was the wife of the Ven. and Hon. Henry Reginald Yorke, Archdeacon of Huntingdon and Rector of Wimpole. She died giving birth to son Alexander Campbell Yorke, who later became the Rector at Fowlmere, and who was the author of essay "Wimpole As I Knew It".
The window on the far left in the Chancel is a stained-glass memorial to Captain the Hon Thomas Charles Reginald Agar-Robartes, commanding No 2 Company 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, who died on the 30 September 1915, aged 35, of wounds received during the battle of Loos. 'Tommy' Agar-Robartes was the eldest son of Thomas Charles, 6th Viscount Clifton and Mary, Viscountess Clifton of Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. Member of Parliament for St Austell and Mid-Cornwall from 1908.
(East Wall - Chancel)
The east wall to the Chancel has a Venetian window, originally blind, and has an internal wooden surround with carved pilasters, overpiece and arms. The wooden surround was originally a large carved reredos (an ornamental screen behind an alter), reset and altered when the window space was opened up. The communion table is of the 18th century, with carved console legs and modern top.
On the North wall of the Chancel is a monument to Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke KCB (1768-1831) and his two wives Elizabeth Weake Rattray (1773-1812), and Urania Anne Paulett, with descriptive tablet, navel trophies and emblems, and female mourner in white.
Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke was the father of Charles Philip Yorke, the 4th Earl of Hardwicke.
[Sir Joseph Yorke was lost at sea in sad circumstances in May 1831 whilst sailing from Spithead to Hamble in Southampton Water. The yacht "Catherine" upset in a sudden squall and threw the crew of four into the water. The admiral, two Royal Navy captains and one ordinary seaman called Chandler all drowned. The full story as printed in "The Times" 09 May 1831 can be read at "Melancholy Death".]
On the same wall will be seen a tablet sculptured by Thomas Denman to the Rt. Hon Charles Philip Yorke (1764-1834) [Family Tree], First Lord of the Admiralty, and to his wife Harriott Manningham (1763-1854) Monumental Inscription]. Charles Philip Yorke died eight months before he would have inherited Wimpole and thus become the 4th Earl of Hardwicke. The monument incorporates a dark marble block which was taken from the Admiralty breakwater in Plymouth Sound.
[The coffins of Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke, Elizabeth Weake Rattray, Rt Hon Charles Philip Yorke and Harriet Manningham lie in the Hardwicke Family Vault beneath the Chicheley Chapel.]
The Communion Plate
Wimpole's communion plate consists of an alms dish, two flagons, a chalice and paten, all silver-gilt, which were presented to the Church in 1679 by Sir Thomas Chicheley, the Lord of the Manor.
The mark is the 'hound sejant', a rare mark of high quality, recently attributed to Richard Blackwell the younger and made in London c1655. The pieces in the set bear an engraving of the Good Shepherd.
The communion set dates from the time of the Commonwealth (1642-60). During this time huge amounts of family silver were melted down by royalists and Cromwellians alike to finance the Civil War. Moreover, the Puritans despised ostentatious displays of wealth and disapproved of depictions of Christ, so much church plate was also destroyed or defaced. The few objects that were made in silver during this period were generally small with minimal decoration; more substantial pieces such as Wimpole's communion set are extremely rare indeed. The only other known examples of church plate by the hound sejant maker are to be found in Gloucester, Rochester and St Paul's Cathedrals, the Victoria and Albert Museum and a handful of parish churches.

British History Online

Parish Church of St. Andrew (Plate 126), consisting of a structurally undivided Chancel and Nave, and a North Chapel, stands in a small churchyard which has been extended to the S. since the 18th century. The walls are mostly of red brick with freestone and clunch dressings, but the W. end and the adjoining last bays of either side wall are in freestone and clunch ashlar, as is the N. chapel. The roofs are slated.

The N. chapel, probably of 14th-century origin and restored in 1732 (see Inscriptions below), is all that remains of a larger church destroyed in April 1748 prior to the erection of the present building. This last was completed in the following year to the designs of Henry Flitcroft at a cost of £1,107 17s. 4d. (see Inscriptions below, and B.M. Add. MS. 35679, 13–17). A drawing by John Kip (Britannia Illustrata (1707), No. 32) and a sketch by Cole (B.M. Add. MS. 5837, 134) give some idea of the appearance of the old church. There is also a ground plan of it by Flitcroft in an album of drawings at Wimpole Hall. In 1887 the fabric was restored; the remodelling of the S. door and of all the windows on that side except that above the door, is presumably of this time, as may be the gothicising of the piers supporting the lord's gallery. The N. chapel has been a pantheon since the mid 18th century and has been improved in recent years by the removal of surplus pews and by the remodelling of the entry from the body of the church.

Architectural Description—The Chancel and Nave (62 ft. by 24 ft., gallery 25½ ft.) have a symmetrical W. front in stone towards the Hall, designed in two stages: the W. door with moulded architrave, pulvinated frieze and pediment supported by two consoles is flanked by blind window recesses; above the door is a window between two smaller, semicircular niches, all with round heads; the elevation is completed by a pediment enclosing a bull's eye and surmounted by a timber cupola for the bell. The E. wall rises to a similar pediment; below it the Venetian E. window, originally blind like that adjoining in the N. wall, has an internal wooden surround with carved pilasters, scrolled and pedimented overpiece and urns, originally a reredos framing inscribed tables, reset and altered when the window was opened (Flitcroft's 'Section of the East End' in the Wimpole album). The gallery retains its three-bay railing of turned balusters and two dividing Ionic columns. The ceiling of the nave and chancel is flat and has a moulded entablature with some additional enrichment over the gallery.

The North Chapel (32 ft. by 21¼ ft.) has the E. and N. walls divided into two and three bays respectively by buttresses, with classical pilasters, probably of 1732, at the N. angles. Both windows in the E. wall and the first window in the N. wall, though in Gothic idiom, are modern; the second window in the N. wall, of three cinque-foiled lights with flowing tracery in the head, is 14th-century; the third window is round-headed and of the 18th century. The W. wall is in plain Georgian style to harmonise with the W. front and has a square-headed 18th-century doorway at the S. end with a projecting key. The entry into the chapel from the body of the church, occupying most of the S. side, probably of 19th-century origin, has recently been remodelled.

The 17th-century Roof of the N. chapel, of very low pitch, is divided into three bays by moulded tie beams; some wall posts and braces at the ends of the ties have been removed on the S.; the timbers are enriched with pendants and the rafters exposed. The roof over the chancel and nave is masked.

Fittings—Bell: in cupola above W. front; said by Raven (Church Bells of Cambs., 178) to be by Miles Graye, 1653. Brasses: in chapel—reset on E. end of S. wall (1) of Thomas Worsley (Plate 112), 1501/2, figure of priest in vestments scored for enamel inlay, with mutilated prayer scroll, picture of Virgin and Child enthroned and inscription panel with six lines of Latin hexameters;—on W. end of S. wall, reset as a group (2) small mutilated figure of a merchant, 16th-century; (3) small square panel with six kneeling female children, late mediaeval; (4) female figure in costume of c. 1535; (5) mutilated achievement of arms of Marshall, of 1625; (6) inscription panel of Rev. Edward Marshall, 1625, with eight lines of verse. Brass indents: in chapel, (1) for brass of Thomas Worsley above, hacked back to accommodate recently removed pewing; (2) for brass of female figure above, companion male figure and attached inscription plate; the ledger has been crudely adapted at some time for the remaining four brasses above. Communion table: in chancel, with carved console legs and modern top; 18th-century. Gallery: see Architectural Description above.

Glass: (1) In N., S. and W. windows of W. gallery, 47 shields of arms of the Yorke family and their connections, against patterned backgrounds, said to be by William Peckitt (d. 1795) (G. Harris, The Life of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke (1847), 1. 469). In the head of W. window, an achievement of arms of the 1st. Earl of Hardwicke; the other shields are blazoned with the arms of Yorke of Bewerley, impaled or quartered to illustrate some of the known connections of that family. In chapel—reset for the most part, in the middle window on N. side, (2) quantity of heraldic and other predominantly 14th-century glass, including 14 shields and a figure of a pilgrim. The arms are of—in the window head, Tiptoft, Avenell, Bardolf and possibly Talemache; in the 1st light, England with a label, Lisle, France Ancient quartering England, and Bassingbourn; in the 2nd light, above the pilgrim, Bohun and Engaine; in the 3rd light, three shields of Ufford, two differenced, and one of Bassingbourn. Background fragments include grisaille, architectural motifs and heraldic quarries possibly from shields of Booth and Clopton, recorded by Layer when complete, and another (unidentified 16); border quarries are blazoned with lions of England, fleurs-de-lis of France, cups of Galicia and castles of Castile and fragmentary arms of Wanton (or Grendon), Lisle and Manny. According to C. Woodforde (MS. The stained glass of Wimpole Church) the heraldry illustrates Ufford alliances, particularly with the Plantagenets through the marriage of Ralph de Ufford (d. 1346) and Maud, daughter of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster. In the third window, (3) fragments include architectural designs, gold crowns and the head of a king, crowned and holding a halberd, late 14th- or early 15th-century. Inscriptions: in N. chapel, on S. end of W. wall (1) marble panel in stone border 'This chapel was repaired by the direction and at the sole charge of the Earl and Countess of Oxford and Mortimer anno domini 1732'; (2) stone panel 'This church was rebuilt by The Rt. Honble Philip Lord Hardwicke Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain Anno 1749 H. Flitcroft Archt.'.

¶Monuments and Floor Slabs. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall (1) of Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke K.C.B., 1831, and his two wives Elizabeth (Weake, born Rattray) and Urania (Pawlet-t) (Plate 139); large grey marble panel with achievement of arms, descriptive tablet with naval trophies and emblems, and a female mourner, all in white marble; (2) of Right Honble. Charles Philip Yorke, 1834, and his wife Harriet (Manningham), 1854; framed inscription panel with achievement of arms, supported by consoles and surmounted by a sarcophagus, in various marbles, according to R. Gunnis (Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851), 127 [1953] by Thomas Denman; on S. wall (3) of Flora Elizabeth Yorke, 1852, and two of her children; (4) of Honble. Agneta Yorke, 1820, second wife of Right Honble. Charles Yorke, Lord Chancellor; inscription tablet flanked by pilasters with figures of her husband in robes of state and of two sons, and with medallion portrait at the head, all in white marble, signed 'J. FLAXMAN, R.A. Sculptor'. In N. chapel—against E. wall (5) of Philip, first Earl of Hardwicke, 1764, and his wife Margaret (Cocks) (Plate 127), 1761; framed inscription panel in white marble surmounted by an enriched sarcophagus in brown veined marble against a grey obelisk to which is affixed an achievement of arms in oval frame; around the base are putti with wreaths and emblems of office; on each side, life-size figures, one of Athene; two medallions on the sarcophagus depict the Earl and Countess; signed 'J. STUART, INVT P. SCHEEMAKERS, SCULPR.'. On N. wall (6) of Catharine (Freman), 1759, wife of Honble. Charles Yorke; stylised sarcophagus in white veined marble, bearing a white inscription panel; above is an urn in brown marble against a grey background standing on a base of three steps around which are grouped three putti: two garlanding the urn while the third stands by in dejection with reversed torch; in front of the steps is a portrait medallion and at the base of the sarcophagus is an achievement of arms; signed 'JAMES STUART, INVT. PR. SCHEEMAKERS, SCULP. MDCCLXI' — against N. wall and apparently partly set in it masking one long side, a position which may date from 1748–9, (7) of Sir Thomas Chicheley, 1616, his wife Dorothie (Kemp), 1644, their children Thomas, 1617, and Jane, 1632, and grandchild Henry, 1652, son of Thomas Chicheley Esq.; two-stage altar tomb in alabaster and black marble with miniature effigies in the lower stage, inscription panels and shield of arms, supporting a recumbent effigy in armour. On N. wall, (8) of Honble. Charles Yorke, 1770, and his wives Catherine (Freman) and Agneta (Johnson); grey marble obelisk on break-front pedestal of white marble with inscription tablet flanked by festoons and frieze carved with emblems of the Chancellor's office; at the base of the obelisk two putti unveil a portrait medallion and at the apex is an achievement of arms; signed 'P. SCHEEMAKER FAT.'. On W. wall, (9) of Rev. Charles Yorke, 1791, and Miss Mary Yorke, 1795; small shaped tablet with two urns carved on the apron; (10) of Elizabeth (Lygon), 1766, wife of Honble. John Yorke; white marble inscription scroll flanked by putti beneath a shaped cornice enriched with torches and an urn, and with apron framing a cartouche of arms; (11) of Right Honble. Joseph Yorke, Lord Dover, 1792, and his wife Christine Charlotte Margaret Stocking (=Stocken), 1793; inscription panel surmounted by a sarcophagus with flanking trophies and small medallions of arms in the apron; signed 'J. Bacon Sculptor: London 1798'; (12) of Philip, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke, 1790; white marble stele carved in bold relief with a kneeling female mourner garlanding an urn; signed 'T. BANKS, R.A. SCULPT.'; (13) of Honble. John Yorke, 1801; of white marble in the Greek manner, in bold relief; two parents, hands clasped, stand in attitudes of grief at a tomb, with a reclining child at their feet; below is an inscription; signed 'R. WESTMACOTT, A.R.A. LONDON'. In centre of chapel, (14) of Philip, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke, 1834, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of James, 5th Earl of Balcarres; altar tomb with shaped ends and recumbent effigy in Garter robes, all in white marble; the ends of the tomb chest are carved with arms and heraldic emblems; signed 'R. WESTMACOTT, JUNR, A.R.A. 1844'. In churchyard, S. of S. doorway (15) of John Phillips, 1710, in infancy, small headstone; (16) of Frances Phillips, 1710, headstone; (17) of Elizabeth Phillips, 1714, headstone; (18) headstone, dated 1710, otherwise illegible. Floor slabs: at E. end of N. chapel, (1) of Thomas Sheepshanks, 1818, Fellow of St. John's and rector of the parish; (2) of Richard Beek, 1671.

Plate: includes a cup, alms-dish and flagon by the 'Hound sejant' goldsmith, and a paten and flagon in similar style, all c. 1655 and, according to the parish register, presented to the church by Sir Thomas Chicheley in 1679; a cup, unmarked, 17th-century; a paten, London 1703, inscribed 'The legacy of Eliz. wife of Henry Yorke to the parish of Riple 1703' and believed to have been exchanged with that parish for a flagon c. 1860; and a Britannia metal dish, 19th-century. Reredos: see Architectural Description above. Miscellaneous: on W. wall inside N. chapel, circular stone panel with strapwork enclosing shield of arms of Chicheley; 17th-century.

This page was last updated on: 03 March 2019.

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Aerial View of Wimpole Hall and St Andrew's Parish Church

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