All Saints, Kempston, Bedfordshire

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Feature Sets (3)


The church has a chancel with vestry and mausoleum to the N, a nave with clerestorey, N and S aisles and S porch, and a W tower. The chancel, which was lengthened in the 13thc. has traces of blocked, round-headed windows with rubble jambs and heads and may be Anglo-Saxon. The windows may have been double-splayed. The chancel arch and the W tower are probably early 12thc. (the tower has a blocked round-headed window in the ground stage of the S wall) and the nave was probably rebuilt at this time. Early masonry, bonded with the chancel masonry, survives at the E end of the nave. The current nave and clerestorey are 15thc. as is the top stage of the W tower and the S porch. The N and S aisles have 13thc. arcades, the N earlier than the S. Simple 12thc. sculpture is found on the chancel arch and there are fragments of string course on the W wall of the tower.


The Domesday Survey does not mention a church at Kempston, but records that Judith, the niece of William the Conqueror, held land there. VCH notes that Judith, or her daughter Maud, probably gave the church to Elstow Priory, which had been founded by Judith. Kempston is recorded among the possessions of Elstow Priory by 1218 (VCH, 304)


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration

String courses

W wall

Flanking the W doorway are two fragments of string course carved with billet.

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

No bases, plain apart from the imposts. The arch is composed of very thin voussoirs.

N impost: Hollow-chamfered with a row of saltire crosses along the chamfer.

S Impost: chamfered with a roll along the chamfer and a groove along the upright.

The W face of the N and S imposts has been cut away to bring the surface flush with the face of the chancel arch. The S impost is damaged on its N face.



  • Domesday Book: Bedfordshire, Ed. J. Morris, Chichester, 1977, 53, 5.
  • The Victoria County History: A History of the County of Bedford, London,1912, 3: 303-04.
  • M. Hare, Anglo Saxon Work at Carlton and other Bedfordshire Churches, Bedfordshire Archaeological Journal, 6, 1971, 33-39.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, London, 1968, 104.
Exterior, blocked window.
Church Plan


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TL 016 480 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Bedfordshire
now: Bedfordshire
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Albans
medieval: not confirmed
now: All Saints
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Hazel Gardiner