All Saints


Domesday Book (1086) records Collingham as part of the lands of Peterborough Abbey, having two churches but with only one cleric resident, perhaps suggesting that two churches were not really needed. Narrowing the dates down, according to contemporary chronicler Hugh Candidus (1095-1160) in his history of Peterborough Abbey; soon after Athelstan’s proclamation both manors were given to the Abbot of Peterborough by Turketil Hoche a grandson of King Alfred. He devoted all of his wealth to religious purposes when he became a monk. After 1066 Leofric, the Abbot of Peterborough St Peters (1052-1066) who was, reputedly ‘beloved by everyone’ was succeeded by Turold, Abbot of Malmesbury and Peterborough (1070-1098), who was reputedly very stern.

All Saints Church sits on a rise, overlooking Low Street on the western edge of the village, along which flows the Fleet, a small subsidiary of the Trent which runs roughly parallel in the distance. The Fleet was a wide body of water in this area until c1815 when the route of the present stream was cut. The Fleet and the Trent still flood regularly up to the western wall of the churchyard. On which adjacent to the south-west gate and nearby corner with Low Street are flood level markings. The highest is approximately 1 metre above the current street level. The church sits some 2 metres above this mark.

In 1269, Archbishop Walter Giffard presented Master Hugh de Collingham, clerk, to the church of All Saints of Northeby in Collingham. It would appear that at this period All Saints was called Northby and St John the Baptist (South Collingham) was called Sutheby.

In 1291, at the taxation of Pope Nicholas IV, the church was valued annually at £17 6s. 8d. without the pension to Peterborough Abbey; the additional pension (Pensio Abbatis de Burgo Sancti Petri in eadem ecclesia) to the abbey was 6s. 8d. In the 1341 Nonae Rolls it had an identical value with the same pension sum separated out, and in addition the ninth of sheaves, lambs and their fleeces were worth 17 marks (£11 6s. 8d.) plus 6s. 8d. a year at true value; the altar dues were worth 6 marks (£4); the tithe of hay 8 marks (£5 6s. 8d.); and there were three bovates of land given to the church yielding 2 marks (£1 6s. 8d.). At the 1428 subsidy of Henry VI the value of the subsidy was 34s. 8d,. i.e. 10% of its earlier valuation, showing nothing had changed since 1291. In 1312 Pope Clement V stated that Robert de Pinchebek, canon of Dublin, had obtained the church of North Collingham by papal dispensation, and valued the stipend at £8. Apparently this stipend was supplemented by a tithe of ducks and porkers.

Also in 1312 the church was the subject of some controversy when in August Archbishop William Greenfield excommunicated the parishioners due to their sacrilege and armed violence in occupying the church and its precincts following the death of the their rector Master Nicholas de Calneton. They also abstracted his goods and Greenfield ordered an audit into the former rector's accounts. Evidently all was resolved as in October the archbishop told the dean of Newark to absolve the parishioners from their excommunication.

In 1499 Peterborough Abbey petitioned Henry VII for the appropriation of North Collingham church on the grounds that it was reduced to sore straights including being unable to obtain fish, through continued droughts which had dried up the fish ponds. Interestingly this is one the latest appropriations recorded in the see of York, there being only three further examples before the end of the reign of Henry VIII.

In 1500 the rectory of North Collingham was reduced to a vicarage.

On 21 October 1598 Adam Pacie of North Collingham admitted in the Archdeacon’s court that about six weeks previously he did speak to the minister there saying that he came to church more for a sleep than for the service of God and others had more mind of going home to dinner than to hear God’s word.

In July 1618 Jane, wife of Ludovic Mills, yeoman, of North Collingham, was bound over to appear at the next assizes for not coming to church at the time of celebration of the common prayer except at the time of the sermon, and for not receiving the sacrament.

In January 1624 Jacob Peary alias Pearson, Samuel and Benjamin Sheppard, all of North Collingham, were tried by jury and found guilty of riot in the church.

Following a visitation by the archdeacon of Nottingham in 1638 it was recorded that ‘the isle of the body of this church are not evenly paved, the strong Chest wants two lockes and keyes, the surplisse is not large enough, the font wants a decent cover, the stalls on the northside and southside and in the belfray of the church wants paving and boarding underfoot, there is a plough in the church and the church yard is not sufficiently fenced’.

In 1661 Ogle, the parson at North Collingham, was indicted for not reading the book of common prayer.

In 1661, following the Declaration of Indulgence, a licence was granted for the establishment of an Independent Congregational meeting place in North Collingham.

On 24 August 1662 the vicar was ejected, along with 23 others in the county, for not accepting ordination or the use of the book of common prayer, on the revival of the episcopacy.

In 1672 the house of William Hart, Baptist, was licensed for preaching as was the house of Matthew Shepardson, an Independent.

In 1676 William Maulton, curate, noted that of 300 persons of age to take the Sacrament, 60 ‘wholly absented themselves’.

The archdeacon’s visitation of 1684 indicated that the repairs required 46 years previously following earlier visitation had either not been done at all or had been done badly. As a result, Thomas Ridge and James Cook, church wardens, were proceeded against ‘because the church is out of repair and many necessaries wanting therein, including: a pulpit cloth wanting, the communion table wanting repairing a surplass wanted, a communion table cloth and carpet wanting, the church wants drawing with lime and hair both within and without. The seats in the church [are] some of them out of repair in the bottom. The Kings Arms are not there, the Commandments defaced, the table being broken downe on which they were wrotten. The false floore over the East end of the Church almost wholly broken down. A communion flaggone wanting, a cover for the font wanting, the churchyard fence out of repair in the palling. At the same court William Collins and John Machin, farmers of the impropriated tithes were called to account ‘for that the Chancell is out of repair including the Chancell walls want drawing with lime and hair, the floore bad and broken up, the seats in the chancel much out of repair, the chancel windows are in part stopped up which are to be opened and glazed. Further the Vicarage house is ‘ruinous and two bayes of it fallen down’. The said house hath been formerly repairs as the church wardens have heard, by the Vicars there, but it is by composition to be repaired by the impropriator.’

1743 Herbert Leek made the return. He noted that there were about one hundred families in the parish, of which there were two Quakers and four Anabaptists. The Anabaptists had a licensed meeting housed with about 20 people assembling every Sunday. The preacher was ‘one Lomax an ignorant illiterate Flax-Dresser’. The Anabaptists ran a small charity school. There was no parsonage, but Leek lived in the vicarage at South Collingham and took services on behalf of the rector, Matthew Bradford. He administered the Sacrament four times a year.

In 1754 the wardens requested a faculty to build a seat or pew in a vacant space in the north-east corner of the church of length 9 feet and breadth 5 feet 2 inches or thereabouts for the purpose of Johnathan Turner and family to sit, stand and kneel to hear the divine service and sermon.

1764 Leek again made the return for Archbishop Drummond’s visitation in 1764 when he noted 80 families in the village of which five were Anabaptists. As in 1743, about 20 assembled every Sunday in their meeting house: ‘one Thompson is their teacher’. He administered the Sacraments four times annually.

In 1804 the vicar, Charles Lesiter, was given licence to reside outside of the parish as there was no parsonage house in the benefice.

Subsequently Lesiter’s widow funded the replacement of a window in the vestry.

Considerable internal and external repairs and restoration work took place around 1832, including the installation of a new pulpit and reading desk. Total cost c.£700.

In 1851 George Toulson Cotham, the minister, made the return. He noted 120 general congregation in the morning and 197 at the afternoon service, with 60 and 70 Sunday Scholars respectively. Since the church had only 246 seats, and 267 people are recorded at the afternoon service, the Sunday Scholars must have been meeting elsewhere. The Anabaptist chapel had now evolved into a Particular Baptist chapel, ‘erected about 1720, with 345 seats and congregations of 131 in the morning, 72 in the afternoon and 117 in the evening. The same thunderstorm recorded at South Collingham also impacted on the evening service in the Baptist chapel.

The chancel was thoroughly restored in 1859 and the church reseated. The 1859 faculty stated that the ‘pews and seats are inconvenient in size form and arrangement and insufficient to accommodate the parishioners who desire to attend divine services’, and the proposed changes would result in ‘increased accommodation of eight-three sittings. The west end gallery was to be removed and low seats on a uniform plan introduced. The cost was £305.

Mrs Lesiter also paid for a new tower clock in 1867.

On 15 November 1888 a new lych gate was built. It has the inscription:

I am the Resurrection and the Life

A new oak roof put on the nave in 1897 and other restoration work was carried out. Externally the plaster was removed from some of the walling, the stonework was repaired, the tower roof re-leaded and the pinnacles partly removed and partly repaired. The architect was C. Hodgson Fowler of Durham.

A faculty was acquired in 1902 to move the font from its position close to the north door and place it to the west of the south door, removing two pews.

Bishop Hoskyns visited the church on 9 March 1912 when he found 70 children on the Sunday School roll, and 12 baptisms over the previous twelve months.

In June 1929 the blocked window in the west wall of the south aisle was opened and a faculty approved a single stone window to be erected in the same position to be fitted with a stained glass representing Christ with two children with the inscription:

In memory of F W Goodacre MA Vicar of this Parish from 1877 to 1905

On 23 June 1937 a faculty was approved to install electric lighting and affix a brass tablet to the wall of the tower arch at the west end of the church:

The electric lighting was installed by his son in memory of Charles Constable Curtis J.P. 
Rector of this church. Born 1852. Died 1936

In 1939 Canon Reginald Freestone, vicar of Collingham for 32 years, was knocked down and killed in a collision with a motorcycle in the dark on his way to church in the evening of Sunday, 9 January. A chapel was dedicated in his memory. The chapel was furnished by donations, though a general subscription and voluntary work and included oak, brass candlesticks and a cross, a brass tablet on the wall, a scarlet altar frontal, credence table and cloth, bookstand, candle snuffers, carpet, rug, glass vessels and a communion set. In 1970 the oak altar was extended to make it the same length as the window and new altar rails, kneelers and festival frontal added.

On 26 January 1942 a faculty was issued for the erection of side altar in the south aisle and to provide suitable curtains or hangings, rails for kneeling carpet and cross and candlesticks for the altar.

On 16 September 1953 a faculty was issued to confirm the following alterations:

Clean and decorate the interior

Restore the east window in the north aisle

Remove one pew in the north aisle

Remove the vestry chimney

Add to the war memorial in the churchyard a plaque bearing the names of those who fell in the 1939-1945 war

Provide new altar rails

To glaze the Norman window in the church

Erect a storehouse in the churchyard

On 17 August 1956 a faculty was issued to enable the church wardens to:

Inter the cremated remains of the late vicar the Reverend Oswald Giles Outram Lar in the chancel

To place a slab in the floor over the place of interment inscribed as set out in the deposited plan (not in papers)

Erect a brass memorial tablet on the south wall immediately below two existing memorials – to be inscribed as per a previously deposited sketch.

On 18 August 1962 a faculty was issued to the Reverend Rupert John Stevens and the churchwardens, Percival Robert Allen and John Hugh Linggard to:

Remove four pews from the north aisle and two pews surrounding the lectern

Lay in the cleared space two ancient stone effigies which are at present standing upright in the north porch

Place in the north aisle an altar table with frontal: cross and candlesticks

Clean and decorate the whole of the interior

Gild four bosses of the ceiling of the nave and six Shields of the Passion

Gild and emblazon seven misericords over the chancel arch