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Clophill "new" Church is situated in the heart of the village on the High Street. There is car parking with in the grounds of the church.
Earl de Grey, himself an accomplished architect, appointed his protégé, Thomas Smith of Hertford, to design the new church. He made use of his earlier design for Silsoe Church, rebuilt some 15 years earlier. The lithograph in St. Alban’s Chapel is thought to be the architect’s impression of the finished church.
It was dedicated with due ceremony on July 10th 1849.
THE CHANGING FACE OF THE CHURCH
By 1879 the church was already in need of repair and was closed for a time. Services were held in the newly built school. At this time the words “Holy, Holy Holy, Lord God Almighty” were painted over the chancel arch.
In 1915 a Rood Screen was erected as part of the Harvest Festival celebrations. It was removed in 1957.
Electricity came to the church in 1926, and the beautiful brass oil lamps were removed. The “Holy, Holy, Holies” were painted out during the 1930s.
In 1956 the lead was stolen from the roof of the Old Church, which accelerated its decay to the state it is in today. The PCC voted “to preserve what we can of the old church within the parish church”. In 1957 the east end was re-ordered with a new high altar and rails. The Rood Screen and the 10 Commandments stones were removed. The pulpit was moved forward and 2 new large desks were made. Timbers from the Old Church were used to create St. Alban’s Chapel in the south aisle. Of particular note are the beams carved with a trailing vine, a powerful symbol of the Christian Faith. It was dedicated in 1958 by the Archbishop in Jerusalem.
Within 10 years disaster had struck! The roof timbers and clerestory walls were infested with dry rot. At one stage the church was threatened with demolition, but the Rector, PCC and parishioners pulled together and repairs were put in hand. Meanwhile, the Tithe Barn or Parish Room on the opposite side of the High Street caught fire and was damaged beyond repair. It was therefore impossible to hold services there while the church was closed as had been intended. Some services were held in the Methodist Church and others in the Rectory (now the Old Rectory) drawing room.
The appearance of the church changed dramatically. The clerestory was removed and the old almost flat roof replaced with the steeply-pitched aluminium one we know now.
The church was re-opened with much rejoicing in July 1969.
Our churchyard contains the War Memorial erected to the memory of Clophill’s dead of two World Wars.
The lych gate at the entrance to the Garden of Rest was brought down from the Old Church during the 1980s. It is dedicated to Mary Anne Crouch. Wife of Edward Crouch of Cainhoe (Manor not Road!)
The churchyard is now managed for wildlife, with a mowing regime aimed at encouraging wildflowers in different seasons. Look also for bird and bat boxes, a bird feeding station and a miniature bog garden. Various flower beds have been planted to attract insects. In 2005 we gained the Eco-congregation Award in recognition of our efforts.
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