St Mary Magdalene's Church, Caldecote

St Mary Magdalene's Church, Caldecote
St Mary Magdalene, Caldecote, Herts - - 358916.jpg
St Mary Magdalene's Church, Caldecote, from the southwest
St Mary Magdalene's Church, Caldecote is located in Hertfordshire
St Mary Magdalene's Church, Caldecote
St Mary Magdalene's Church, Caldecote
Location in Hertfordshire
Coordinates: 52°01′50″N 0°11′56″W / 52.0305°N 0.1989°W / 52.0305; -0.1989
OS grid referenceTL 2367 3843
LocationCaldecote, Hertfordshire
WebsiteFriends of Friendless Churches
DedicationMary Magdalene
Functional statusRedundant
Heritage designationGrade II*
Designated27 May 1968
Architectural typeChurch
Groundbreaking14th century
Completed15th century
Length51 feet (15.5 m)
Width14 feet 6 inches (4.4 m)
MaterialsFlint and clunch rubble,
with some brick

St Mary Magdalene's Church is a redundant Anglican church standing in the deserted medieval village of Caldecote, Hertfordshire, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building,[1] and is under the care of the Friends of Friendless Churches.[2]


The present church dates from the 14th and 15th centuries.[1] It is likely that there was an earlier church on the site as the list of rectors begins in 1215. The village was abandoned mainly during the 15th and 16th centuries.[3] Repairs were carried out to the church in the 18th century.[2] The population then declined and the church was declared redundant in 1975.[4] It was taken into the care of the charity, the Friends of Friendless Churches, in 1982.[2] The charity holds the freehold with effect from 15 April 1982.[5] In order to assist in the maintenance of the church, the Caldecote Church Friends was established in 2007.

In 2021, the church was attacked by vandals, bleach was poured on the altar, a fire extinguisher was emptied across the site and rocks were thrown through the 14th century windows. [6]

Architecture, fittings and furniture

St Mary's is constructed in flint and clunch rubble, with some brick.[1] The clunch came from a nearby quarry at Ashwell.[3] The brick was inserted to replace worn-away clunch.[2] It is a small church with a nave and chancel without any division between them.[1] It measures 51 feet (15.5 m) long by 14 feet 6 inches (4.4 m) wide.[3] At the west end is a tower in two stages with corner buttresses in the lower part of the bottom stage. There are two-light windows dating from the 14th century in both stages and a plain parapet at the summit.[1] On the east face of the tower is a lead plaque inscribed "Katherine Morris 1736", an unusual reference to a female plumber responsible for the lead covering on the roof.[7] On the south of the church is a porch dating from the 15th century. The nave, chancel and porch have battlemented parapets.[1] The windows in the nave and chancel are Perpendicular in style. Inside the porch is a crocketed and canopied stoup, which Nikolaus Pevsner states is unique.[4] The font dates from the 15th century; it is octagonal with carved tracery, shields, and foliage, in "unusually rich" Perpendicular style.[4] The benches also date from the 15th century, as does the circular east window. The memorials include a kneeling figure of Rector William Makesey who died in 1424.[4] There is also a plaque to the memory of Thomas Inskip, 1st Viscount Caldecote.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Historic England, "Church of St Mary Magdalene, Caldecote (1347341)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 9 April 2015
  2. ^ a b c d Caldecote St Mary Magdalene, Friends of Friendless Churches, archived from the original on 1 July 2011, retrieved 20 July 2010
  3. ^ a b c d Introduction, Caldecote Church Friends, retrieved 20 July 2010
  4. ^ a b c d Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (rev) (1977) [1953], The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, p. 123, ISBN 0-14-071007-8
  5. ^ Churches and chapels owned by the Friends of Friendless Churches: Details for Visitors, London: Friends of Friendless Churches, June 2010
  6. ^ Caldecote Church Friends, Caldecote Church Friends, retrieved 20 July 2010
  7. ^ Saunders, Matthew (2010), Saving Churches, London: Frances Lincoln, pp. 32–33, ISBN 978-0-7112-3154-2