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Tower Belonging to Church of St Mary the Virgin

A Grade I Listed Building in Marston Moretaine, Central Bedfordshire

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Latitude: 52.0601 / 52°3'36"N

Longitude: -0.5483 / 0°32'53"W

OS Eastings: 499621

OS Northings: 241183

OS Grid: SP996411

Mapcode National: GBR G2V.S6N

Mapcode Global: VHFQL.FHZ3

Entry Name: Tower Belonging to Church of St Mary the Virgin

Listing Date: 23 January 1961

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1311714

English Heritage Legacy ID: 38350

Location: Marston Moretaine, Central Bedfordshire, MK43

County: Central Bedfordshire

Civil Parish: Marston Moretaine

Built-Up Area: Marston Moretaine

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Marston Morteyne

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

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Listing Text


1812/3/53 CHURCH WALK

Church tower; first two stages early medieval, the third stage C14; built of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings, mostly limestone, with areas of ironstone to upper stage.

PLAN: The tower is square in plan and three stages high, with diagonally set buttresses to each corner; a staircase is set within the north-west angle.

EXTERIOR: In the first stage the lowest courses of stonework contain a considerable quantity of ironstone, with narrower courses of limestone up to about 1m high. Above this the stonework is homogeneous to the third stage. The first and second stages have small narrow lights to each side; those to the second stage have vestigial triangular architraves with imposts. The south side second stage has a large pointed arched opening. The third, belfry stage has two light pointed arched windows. The staircase is lit by narrow lights to the north elevation. The entrance at the ground stage is through a pointed arched door in the west elevation. The top of the tower is crenellated.

INTERIOR: Lower stage walls are approximately 2m thick. The ceiling of the first stage is vaulted, and contains a square boarded aperture through which hang the five bell ropes. There are relieving arches over the narrow lights, and the entrance to the stairs is through a pointed arch in the north-west corner.

HISTORY: The church tower is approximately 20m to the north of parish church. The predominance of ironstone in the fabric of the final stage, and its two light pointed arched windows suggest that it is contemporary with the C14 chancel, the earlier part of the church. However, the lower two stages are clearly older. The final stage is the belfry, and contains five bells cast in 1610 by Hugh Watts of Leicester. The tower was repaired in 1796, the event commemorated by a plaque inside the first stage on which the names of the churchwardens and the plumber responsible for leading the roof are inscribed. The tower was restored again in the 1930s under the direction of Sir Albert Richardson of Ampthill.

SOURCES: Kempton, J, The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Marston Morteyne, Guide Book (2004)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England. Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough (1968)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The detached tower of the Church of St Mary the Virgin is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* It is of exceptional architectural and historical interest as an early medieval and C14 structure the fabric of which survives substantially intact.
* It has group value with the church, listed Grade I, and with other surviving elements of medieval Marston Mortaine, including the Grade II* listed Moreteyne Manor and the scheduled moat and medieval settlement earthworks.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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