All Saints Church - Hooton Pagnell
The village church is one of the most beautiful and interesting churches in Yorkshire and one of the three oldest churches in the diocese.
The church is almost certainly pre-Norman. In the foundations is some curious Saxon herring-boxing and the walls of the porch are built of old stone sarcophagus
and the seats in the porch are sarcophagus lids. The south doorway is Norman, as are the tower arch and the chancel arch. When the east end of the church was rebuilt in 1885 an old abbot's coffin was found, which is probably 1000 years old. This is now in the belfry which itself probably dates from the latter half of the thirteenth century.
A great deal of damage must have been done to the church during the Reformation and perhaps, too, during the Civil Wars. In 1799 the church and tower were pointed and the inside whitewashed. 100 years ago there were galleries and the pews were so high that a person of average height would have had difficulty in seeing over them. Possibly for children this would have been an advantage!
Restoration work at this time attracted wide interest from local archaeologists. In their opinion the tomb in the choir vestry dating back to 1310, was the oldest in the former West Riding. The church was warmed by a stove at this time.
Towards the end of 1875 the gallery was taken down, and the old high pews were replaced by pitch pine seats. A new heating apparatus was provided. The churchyard was in a very untidy state and labourers were paid to clear it up before funerals.
After being closed for three months the church was reopened on January 14th, 1876, but there were still many problems with the state of the building. For example, on April 30th, 1878, Mr William Wright Aldam married Miss Sarah Julia Warde, and it was noted that floral decorations covered up the "usual unsightly appearance of the porch". The church was bare and ugly and the roof was in
In 1885-6 thorough restoration was undertaken, funded by the generosity of the Warde-Aldham family. Through the wall which separated the chancel from the Stotfold Chapel an archway was cut to receive the organ which had been purchased by subscription in 1884. After 15 months work the church was reopened on August 2nd, 1886, when the Archbishop of York preached from the pulpit.
But problems did not end there. In August 1897 the church was struck by lightning, one of the roof beams was set on fire, one of the pinnacles was thrown from the roof, and the font was broken and its bowl hurled across the church. The font was mended and continued in use for some time, but it is now in the churchyard near the south wall.
The coloured window in the Stotfold Chapel was given by parishioners as a thanksgiving for the men of the Parish who returned from the 1914-18 war. The Lychgate was given by Mrs Warde-Aldham in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. It is built in Fifteenth Century style of oak beams resting on low walls of masonry and roofed with red tiles.
Modern additions to the church include the Tower room oak and glass screen erected by parishioners in memory of Mary Betty Warde-Norbury.