Visiting St Andrew’s
Arnold J. Toynbee
St Andrew’s is one of Milton Keynes’ ancient churches and stands in the grounds of a 17th century Manor House built by the Pritchard family. A charter of 1151-4 mentions a chapel at Great Linford and excavations beneath the present nave suggest a late Saxon or very early Norman church with a simple nave and small chancel. A section of late medieval tile pavement has survived and been retained in position and covered for preservation but is uncovered occasionally for viewing.
Building & Rebuilding
Almost every century since has seen alterations and additions, the simple 12th century tower being the oldest part of the existing structure. Considerable refurbishment works took place in the early 18th century including rebuilding of the chancel, south aisle and porch (the existing pulpit also dates from 1707) but also, unfortunately, plastering over medieval wall paintings and, it’s thought, removing medieval stained glass. A lathe and plaster ceiling also obscured the roof and the floor was raised and paved with stone. A small 13th century holy water stoup just inside the north door was damaged..
The late 19th century saw the addition of new stained glass, oil lights, furniture, remodelled pews and, very importantly, heating. The large limestone font probably dates from the late 19th century.
In 1980, to respond to the changes brought about by the new city of Milton Keynes, St. Andrew’s was redecorated and provided for the first time with a vestry, kitchen and toilet, work assisted by the Archaeology Unit of Milton Keynes Development Corporation. To make the church more flexible for use by the local community, the pews were removed and replaced, as now, by individual seating.
Brasses, Monuments & Church Plate
St. Andrew’s has three good examples of 15th to 17th century brasses commemorating Sir Roger Hunt and his wife Joan, Thomas and Elizabeth Malyn and Anne and John Uvedall. A large white marble monument on the west wall of the north chapel commemorates Sir William Pritchard and a similar one on the east wall Thomas and Catherine Uthwatt, later owners of the Manor.
The church plate was mentioned in a 1782 inventory and is some of the finest in the area. The most valuable items are on loan to the Victoria & Albert Museum for safekeeping.
The Quiet Garden
St Andrew’s is a member of the Quiet Garden Movement which nurtures low cost, accessible, outdoor space for prayer, contemplation, rest and inspiration in a variety of settings, such as private homes, churches, schools and hospitals. The Grand Union Canal passes within 100 metres and the National Cycle Network Route 6 also passes the churchyard. The garden beside our church is always open and its benches offer pause and contemplation for all travellers and on Sundays in August, the church itself is open for afternoon teas from 2.00-5.00pm.