Stapleford places of worship
The oldest part of the grade two listed Church is the late Norman chancel arch. In the main, the building is 13th and 14th century, with some 15th century additions, but its appearance has been much affected by later events in history.
No mediaeval glass remains. It may have been lost among the “three popish inscriptions, 20 superstitious pictures and two crosses” which were destroyed in March 1644 on the orders of William Dowsing, Cromwell’s “Parliamentary Visitor”.
Further alterations were made during the Victorian restoration of 1866, which closed the church for six months. Major work was carried out to the roof, floor and pews, with the result that the three-decker pulpit and the box pews were lost, several memorial slabs were covered up and seem to have been removed. One brass, however, does survive between the choir stalls. It commemorates William Lee who was Vicar 1574-1617 and who, in 1612, was founder of a grammar school at Batley in Yorkshire where he had been born.
A special feature of the church is the set of hassocks, designed principally by Ruth Mantle and worked by women of the parish as part of the celebrations in 1970 of what was believed to be the millennium of the existence of a church in Stapleford. The subjects are imaginative and cover a wide field, illustrating incidents and scenes from Stapleford’s history from early times to the present day. The churchyard was closed to burials in 1879. The old vicarage was in Bar Lane, beside Vicarage Lane, but was scarcely ever occupied by the vicar. The present Vicarage was built beside the Church in 1910.
Link with Nachingwea
Nachingwea is a town in southern Tanzania, East Africa. It lies in the Region of Lindi and in the Diocese of Masasi. Very few tourists visit this part of the country. Even Tanzanians hardly know where it is. Nachingwea has a hospital, a teacher training college, a secondary school, four primary schools, a nursery school and a day care centre. It was one of the centres for the ground nut scheme in the 1950s, and has an airstrip and an army barracks. The Anglican Parish of St. Andrew has been linked with St. Andrew’s Church, Stapleford, for over 25 years. The link is involved with projects concerning education, health and technology. Find out more on the website.
Free Church (Baptist)
Free Church, High Street, Great Shelford
Our Lady of Lourdes, High Street, Sawston
Shelfords and Stapleford Inter-Church Group
Rev. Robert Beardsley, 27 High Street, Great Shelford