History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Parish Church of St Mary and St Helena

A Grade I Listed Building in Elstow, Bedford

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 52.1149 / 52°6'53"N

Longitude: -0.4693 / 0°28'9"W

OS Eastings: 504907

OS Northings: 247396

OS Grid: TL049473

Mapcode National: GBR G2C.85D

Mapcode Global: VHFQF.T37J

Plus Code: 9C4X4G7J+X7

Entry Name: Parish Church of St Mary and St Helena

Listing Date: 13 July 1964

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1114168

English Heritage Legacy ID: 36697

ID on this website: 101114168

Location: St Mary and St Helena's Church, Elstow, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK42

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Elstow

Built-Up Area: Bedford

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Elstow

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

Tagged with: Church building

Find accommodation in



8/60 Parish Church of St Mary
and St Helena

Parish church, formerly part of Abbey church belonging to Benedictine nunnery
founded c.1078 by Countess Judith of Huntingdon (niece of William I). Early
C12, C13, C15 and late C16. Extensively reworked 1881 by T. J. Jackson of
Bedford. Coursed rubble with ashlar dressings. Nave and aisles (also serving
as a chancel and chapels) and S vestry. 5 bay nave and aisles: these are nave
and aisles of Abbey church, E end being blocking wall dating from Dissolution
inserted in last bay before crossing (springing of arcades Eastwards still
visible). 3 bays to E have plain early C12 arcades with semi-circular arches
on rectangular piers with square moulded abaci. 2 bays to W have early C13
arcades with pointed arches, the NE one with dog-tooth decoration.
Clerestory, rebuilt 1881, has 6 windows each side, 3 to E round-headed, 3 to W
pointed-arched. All E windows are 1881 reworking. 1881 3-light pointed-
arched windows to aisles. 1881 Norman style N doorway, surmounted by c.l120
panel showing Christ flanked by Sts Peter and John, framed by columns
supporting round-headed arch. S aisle has C15 doorway above which is 2-light
square-headed window. W elevation dates from early C13. Pointed-arched
central doorway, surmounted by C15 square label. Above this is C16 4-light
window with square head. Doorway to L (N aisle) also pointed-arched, with
original lancet above. Stair turret to SW angle. S vestry: originally the
early C13 outer parlour. Square room with central octagonal pier, carrying
unusual 4-bay rib vault, some ribs breaking through into adjoining bay.
Interior: C15 octagonal font in N aisle, with traceried panels and one plain
side. Brasses include one to Margery Argentine, d.1427, and one to Elizabeth
Herwy, Abbess of Elstow, d.l527. Monuments include: one of alabaster in E
wall with kneeling figures of Humphrey Radcliffe (d.1566) and his wife Isabel
Harvey, facing each other and flanked by doric columns; one of marble to
Thomas Hillersdon, d.1656, in S aisle wall; another, also in S aisle, to John
Hillersdon, d.1684.

Listing NGR: TL0490747396

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.