All Saints, Cottesbrooke

The Village

Cottesbrooke is a small village in rolling countryside, 2 miles off the A5199. It is one of 10 villages in the Midland Counties in the 1999 book ‘The Most Beautiful Villages of England’. Cottesbrooke Hall is a superb Queen Anne building, thought by some to be the model for Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park”. Many of the houses in the village are part of the estate, although fewer people now work there. The Hall and gardens are open to the public.

Amenities and Activities

Cottesbrooke has a Village Hall, which has recently been refurbished, with a lot of space around it for parking and playing. Otherwise, the school, and shop have long gone, and there never was a pub. However, there is still quite a good sense of community, fostered by a ‘Fun Evening’ in the Village Hall each autumn. Every year the villagers cooperate to open all the gardens and church in aid of church funds. The annual Church Fete in the grounds of the Hall attracts people from a wide area.

The Church Building

All Saints', CottesbrookeThe church is featured in Simon Jenkins ‘Thousand best Churches’ and is Grade I listed. It is distinguished for its architecture and the box pews and three-decker pulpit in the nave. Major re-ordering in 1959 was supervised by Lord Mottistone, who also restored St. Paul’s after the war. In the remaining transept there are splendid monuments to Sir John and Lady Langham (1676) and John Rede (1604). A fine peal of eight bells is rung whenever possible, and visiting teams of ringers often enjoy ringing peals during the summer. The church is open every day.

Two of the stained glass windows depict the church as it was in the 19th century.

There was major restoration to the roof in 1991.  The ring of 4 bells was augmented to 6 in 2003 when the tower and clock were restored.  One of the bells, dated 1317, is reputed to be the world’s oldest bell hung for change ringing.
The modest stone church has a square west tower with corner pinnacles, and is reckoned to date from the 12th to 14th centuries. The 17th century South porch is interesting, and the vestry, north door and organ gallery are 19th century. Two of the stained glass windows depict the church as it was in the 19th century. The ring of four bells was augmented to 6 in 2003 when the tower and clock were restored. One of the bells, dated 1317, is reputed to be the world’s oldest bell hung for change ringing. Unfortunately there is no band of ringers at the moment.
The lych gate was added in 1883 and is separately listed grade II. The churchyard was closed by order in council in 1884, and is raised with retaining walls.

Congregation

The small group of regulars is often augmented by visitors who come to experience the church.

Ministry

The two services a month are Book of Common Prayer Communion, and Book of Common Prayer Matins. Both have hymns and a sermon. One of the churchwardens is a member of the Prayer Book Society.

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