New St Mary's Church
Earl de Gray appointed Thomas Smith of Hertford to design the new church, who re-used his design for Silsoe Church, which was built in 1831. It was dedicated on July 10th 1849.
By 1879 the church needed repairing, closing for a short period. During this time the Chancel was restored. Services were held in the newly built school. At this time 'Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty' was painted over the chancel arch.
In 1915 a Rood Screen was erected as part of the Harvest Festival celebrations. Electricity came to the church in 1926, and the 'Holy, Holy, Holy' was painted out during the 1930s.
In 1957 the east end was re-ordered with a new high altar and rails. The Rood Screen and 10 Commandments stones were removed, the pulpit moved forward and two desks were made. Timbers from the Old Church were used to create St. Alban's Capel in the south aisle. Of particular note are the beams carved with a trailing vine. It was dedicated in 1958 by the Archbishop in Jerusalem.
By 1967 dry rot infested the roof timbers and clerestory walls. The Rector, the Parochial Church Council and parishioners pulled together and repairs were made. Services were in the meantime held in the Methodist and the Rectory (now Old Rectory) drawing room, as the Parish Room opposite had burnt down in 1966.
The churches appearance changed dramatically, with the clerestory removed, and a steep aluminium roof put in its place. It was re-opened in July 1969. In 1971 the wooden floor collapsed, again repaired by the Rector and parishioners.
In 1976 the Christus Rex completed the transformation of the south aisle into St. Alban's Chapel. In 1996 the pulpit and organ were removed. The 150th Anniversary of the church's dedication was celebrated in 1999, including making a banner for the St. Alban's Chapel.
Since 2000, the church has shared an incumbent with the parish of Haynes and, since 2006, with Campton too, though each parish retains its own Parochial Church Council, churchwardens and services.
In 2001 a substantial legacy was recieved from Mr Fred Oakley, which, coupled with additional fund-raising, led to a new meeting room, kitchen, toilets, heating and sound systems, glass doors, the relaying of the drive and the restoration of the gallery.
In 2005 the new east window, designed and created by Michael Stokes of Nottingham was installed in memory of the Oakley family.
List of Rectors
- John Mendham MA - 14 Mar 1844 [on death of William Pierce Nethersole];- Gustavus Bosanquet MA - 11 Sep 1869 [on death of John Mendham];- Horace Rollo Meyer - May 1900;- Cecil Lloyd Matthews - Oct 1911;- Henry Wilcox - Jul 1919;- James Killen Deane - Mar 1923;- William John Wallace - Jan 1926;- George Henry Pattison - Apr 1933;- Henry Gordon - Jul 1938;- Leslie Raymond Livingstone Bearman - Jul 1945;- Ernest John Jones - Dec 1951;- William Ainslie Macintosh Grant - 1956;- Lewis Edward Barker - 1962;- Herbert Ralph Cousins - 1971;- Philip John Swindells - 1978- Margaret J.Venables - 2000- Dean Henley - 2006
(Information kindly provided by St. Mary's Church and the Bedfordshire Community Archives)