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St. Peter & All Saints Church, Battlesden
St Peter & All Saints, Battlesden
Church interior looking west c.1820

With the community never very populous, a simple nave and chancel sufficed as the plan for Battlesden church, to which Robert de Gatesden was appointed as the first rector in 1219. However, of the early church only the two light window in the south nave wall is now evident, with the chancel arch dating from the 14th century, and the tower from some 100 years later. From 1928 it became necessary to keep the church closed, except for the months of August and September from 1931 to 1934, but in August 1947 - due to a fete, held in the grounds of Milton Bryan rectory - over £100 was raised for the restoration of the local churches. Especially this pleased the Reverend Kenyon, for he had been appointed to the combined parishes of Battlesden and Potsgrove a few months before, and with his being the ambition of having Battlesden church restored, towards this intent he was greatly aided by a gift of £200 from William Merridale, who as a youth had sung in the church choir. As a long standing resident of Battlesden, William spent all his working life on the Woburn estate, and since he lived near the church he had tried to maintain the structure in some sort of order, not least because of the long absence of services, and the damage caused to the organ and pews during World War Two. By the advice of Professor Richardson (of architectural fame), in July 1947 a meeting of the parishioners had agreed that for a few hundred pounds the church could be made fit for use, and with Mr. Merridale’s gift of £200 substantially increased by other donations, the restoration took place and the church reopened in 1949. Sadly William did not live to witness the event, for he died in December 1946, but a plaque to his memory is to be seen on the north wall of the nave. Following the restoration, the church was open to anyone with an ecclesiastical interest, and, with the benefices of Battlesden and Potsgrove having been officially united in 1732 (by the Bishop of Lincoln), an Order in Council, by Queen Elizabeth, was made in 1971 whereby the church of Battlesden became denominated to serve the communities of Battlesden and Potsgrove. The church of the latter therefore became redundant, but Battlesden church remains in regular use.