The Friends of St Andrew's, Wood Walton

















A brief history of the church
Victoria County History, Huntingdonshire, Volume Three (1926) records the following details about the church to the start of the 20th century:

"The early church probably consisted of an aisle less nave of the same length as present, and a chancel. About 1250 a south aisle was added, the arcade of which remains. The chancel was rebuilt about eighty years later and the north arcade was formed or rebuilt, and the clerestory added in the early 16th century. The tower appears to have been of 14th century date. The church was restored 1856 - 1859 when the aisle walls, the tower and the porch were rebuilt and a vestry was added. The features of the aisles and tower were probably reproduced in the new work, as the square-headed 14th century window is a local characteristic. The vestry was rebuilt in 1897. The porch and western end of the south aisle were again rebuilt in 1906; and the vestry was altered to form an organ chamber in 1911."

Due to its isolated location the church has always been vulnerable to damage and theft and as early as 1549 an account records "Woddwaltton Stoln out of the Church...ii handbells." More serious thefts occurred in June 1956 and December 1964 when thieves came under the cover of darkness to strip and take away the valuable lead from the roofs of the south and north aisles.






Vandalism and decay
In the years after being closed for worship the church suffered badly at the hands of vandals who continually broke in, and desecrated its interior and fittings.

Damage was inflicted on the roof of the building and almost all window glass, some stained, was smashed. Wall and floor tiles were disturbed and broken, particularly in the chancel, and the altar and pulpit rails were wrenched from their fixings. Some pews were similarly damaged.

For a while the weather penetrated the interior of the church and this accelerated natural process of decay in areas of wall plaster and some pew platforms.


Repair work
Repair work effected to date to the includes re-tiling the roofs of the chancel and nave, re-fixing the tower parapets and installing vandal resistant plastic glazing to all windows. Additional works restrict access to the tower and the south aisle and chancel doorways. Although these works have been successful in deterring further unauthorised entry to the building and keeping out the weather, no funds have been available for restoration work to the interior.

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