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Church Post Code PE9 2AG

Open to visitors

It was a bright and sunny winter morning in February 2023, and it was a long overdue revisit to Stamford, a beautiful Georgian town which can be found some 14 miles to the north west of Peterborough. Stamford was voted Britain’s ‘Best Place to Live’ in 2013 by the Times and Sir Walter Scott described it as being ‘the finest stone town in England’. A historic town, with no fewer than 446 structures of one type or another being listed!

This is a very rewarding place for the churchcrawler to visit. There used to be 14 churches in the town, with several being destroyed during the Wars of the Roses. Six churches survive today, with one of these having been converted in to shops. Five others remain, with four of these generally open daily to visitors.

The church of All Saints, with its fine crocketed spire, is on Red Lion Square in the centre of the town. There was a church here mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086. The structure that we see today though dates to the 13th century, with the structure restored and enlarged during the late 15th century.


It was John and William Browne, who were rich wool merchants, who donated the tower, clerestory and battlements, as well as having the north aisle rebuilt. Browne’s parents were buried at the church here and the family merchant crest, of a heart with the letter ‘B’ and a cross contained with it can be seen over the top of the chancel arch.

The rebuilding here came at a good time, with All Saints, and the town in general, suffering neglect after damage inflicted by Lancastrian troops during the Wars of the Roses in the mid 15th century.

The church that we see today consists of west tower, nave with north and south aisles and clerestories, north and south porches, south chapel, north vestry and chancel.

The late 15th tower, four stage is offset to the north; a fine perpendicular structure, which is particularly well viewed from the west. The stair turret is at the south west corner, and the tower is decorated throughout.  There are several empty image niches which would have held statues prior to the Reformation and several areas of blind arcading.


Grotesques of beats can be seen at the top of the tower, with two on each side; a frieze of repeated quatrefoil design running below; throughout the tower are carvings of animals and humans, some grotesque and others almost cartoonlike.

The church from the west is a real statement piece! The west end of the nave is battlemented and pinnacled, with six light window dominating. Likewise, the west end of the south aisle is battlemented and has a four light window. Blind arcading runs at ground level across both and continues around the rest of the structure.

The north porch leads in to the base of the tower; the visitor enters via the south porch, which is 15th century and again is highly decorated, with several empty image niches and boasting a fine crocketed ogee gable, flanked by pinnacles.

On the south wall is a memorial to Bridget Webb, who died in 1715; angels at the top and the bottom of her memorial symbolising the safe escorting of her soul to Heaven.

This is a church of pleasing dimensions. The aisles and clerestories are battlemented and perpendicular; the view of the church from the east is almost as impressive as from the west; with substantial battlemented east ends of south aisle and chancel.


There is a ring of eight bells here. When Thomas North compiled his late Victorian study of the church bells in Lincolnshire there were six in the ring, with each of these being cast by Robert Taylor of St Neots in 1808.

North takes a look, in his usual thorough manner, at the situation prior to that. He notes that there were five bells in the ring, with three of these being of great age, with no founder attributed. One further appears to have been an ancient bell, recast by Thomas I Eayre of Kettering (for which his bill was £9 9s and 6d). The other bell was cast very locally, by Tobias Norris III in 1674.

Taylor recast these five and added a sixth in 1808. Two more were added to the ring by Taylor of Loughborough in 1982, giving the eight that we hear today.

Standing in the church grounds, the square perpendicular tower of St John the Baptist, which is now run by the Churches Conservation Trust, is a stone’s throw away to the south, with the top of the spire of St Mary  is visible over the buildings a little further away to the east. St Michael, converted in to shops in 1982, is also close by, but hidden by trees.

It was a beautiful winter day, with the sun shining down and hardly a cloud in the sky. The area around All Saints was busy; but this being Stamford it was pleasant and relaxed. Thoughts were starting to turn to lunch, which of my favourite eating places in the town to visit.

 The Jehovah’s Witnesses had set up against the nearby Eleanor Cross, which dates from the 1290’s. The one at Stamford in one of a series of 12 crosses, which marked the nightly resting places of the procession which transported the body of Eleanor of Castile, wife of King Edward I, back to Westminster Abbey.


The ‘Church Open’ sign was out and I entered in to a quiet and peaceful space, with a little light spiritual music playing. The church outside is impressive; and to my mind so is the interior, but in a different way. The exterior shows the grandeur of a fine medieval church; built to the glory of God and to lessen the time that the deceased and their family were to spend in purgatory in the pre reformation days of Catholicism.

 The interior though, despite the ancient features that the church retains, shows the best of what the Victorian restorers had to offer; with the glass here in particular being of great interest.

When I think as to which my favourite church in Stamford is the answer sometimes differs. Today, spending a pleasant half an hour taking in the intricacies of the stained glass here, All Saints was my favourite!

A video feed caught my eye and I wandered over to take a look. It was a camera trained on a Peregrine Falcon nest! The Falcons here had been nesting in the tower since 2021, and the video, which was pre-recorded given that it was the depth of winter, showed two chicks being fed.

There is plenty of ancient to be seen here, in with the more modern. The north and south aisles are each of four bays. The south arcade dates to the early 13th century and was originally of three bays, with the bay expected to the west at the time of the 15th century rebuilding. This has clustered piers with still leaf capitals. The north arcade is a little later, dating from the mid-13th century, and consists of circular piers and capitals.

On the east wall of the north aisle there are several 15th century memorial brasses to the Browne family. A memorial to John Brown dates to 1442 and shows him standing on two bales of wool, this signifying his occupation.

Also of great age is a double piscina in the east wall of the south chapel. These were basins used for the priest to wash his hands and also to wash the holy vessels used in celebrating the mass.


The visitor walks up a short flight of steps to get to the chancel, with two chancel bays leading in to the south chapel. The Victorian reredos in the chapel is a depiction of the Last Supper, carved in stone. Plenty of the ornamentation around this carving is gilded, but the depiction of the supper itself is purely stone, with the exception of Jesus’ nimbus (halo) which is gilded,

The east window dates from 1874, courtesy of Heaton, Butler and Bayne whose work can be seen in Peterborough Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The centre point of this window is a vibrant depiction of the resurrection with Christ; arms spread with wounds visible on hands and feet, flanked by angels with the 11 disciples looking up intently whilst a celestial band plays up in the tracery. Below this are five scenes from the life, and death of Christ, with the crucifixion at the centre.


The six light west window is stunning and was donated in 1888 by Edward Brown from Boston USA, who was a descendent of William Browne. Running across the six lights are six central characters, each with a small panel below which tells part of their story.

From left to right we have John the Baptist, with the small panel below showing his father Zechariah, who had been struck speechless in the temple, writing ‘His name is John’ on a tablet.

Next we have Mary the Mother of Jesus with a depiction of the annunciation below. By the side of that we have John, who is shown below tenderly leading Mary to his home after the crucifixion. We then have Stephen, the first Christian martyr from Acts, who is shown below being stoned, head up looking towards Heaven as the blows descend.

Next up we have Mary Magdalene, with the panel below showing the risen Christ appearing to her on Easter morning, and showing her the wounds. Finally we have Paul, as usual depicted with downward pointing sword. Below we have Paul preaching; as always it is interesting to see the looks on the faces of those looking on!

There is a great deal of glass here, so I am only going to scratch the surface; but to mention a single panel in a four light window which shows Mary of Bethany anointing Jesus with pure nard just his death. ‘She hath wrought a good work’ say the script below in the words of the King James translation.  Judas looks on, interestingly depicted with nimbus when so many depictions have him without a nimbus or with a dark one. He gazes on, hands clenched together and with his bag of money before him.


A four light window shows characters from the Old Testament; which includes Miriam playing the tambourine. Miriam is said to have led the Hebrews in singing and dancing after the crossing of the Red Sea. In the panel next to this, Samuel, is delicately shown holding his hand to his ear; as God was talking to him.

One further window that shows the patron saints of the Dioceses of York, Lincoln, Litchfield and Peterborough. St Hugh is shown with a swan at the side of him. Legend states that the swan followed him everywhere he went and protected him whilst he slept. Peterborough is represented by St Peter, who carries the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. He is also identified by his receding hairline!

Just to mention briefly a depiction of the four names Archangels, one of which is St Michael. He carries a processional cross, at the top of which is an image of Christ crucified. On his shield is the scale on which the souls of the dead shall be judged on the final day. Below, Satan is bound, this referring to Michael’s triumphant battle over satan in Revelation.


Lunch was calling and it was a five minute walk to the Cornish Bakery where I was tempted in with a cheese scone and a bacon and cheese savoury slice. Churchcrawling and food go hand in hand nicely together; more so as I have got older and do things that little bit more slowly.

The church here is open and welcoming and there are lots to see. In the space that I have here, I admit freely that I have hardly scratched the surface. A delight! A must see church if you are in the area.

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