The United Benefice of Sharnbrook, Felmersham and Knotting with Souldrop

Knotting Church - re-opening celebrations following

 renovation by the Churches Conservation Trust.

8th. and 9th. May 2011.

  On Sunday 8th. May at 5.00 p.m. a Sung Evensong service was held attended by forty mainly local people from the combined benefice. The service was taken by the Rector -  Revd. Robert Evens. On Monday 9th. May at 4.00 p.m. Patrrons, Trustees and supporters of The Churches Conservation Trust joined local residents in celebrating the re-opening of St Margaret of Antioch church, Knotting, now in the Trust’s care, with an afternoon tea and presentations by architect Ptolemy Dean; CCT Chair, Loyd Grossman; and CCT Chief Executive, Crispin Truman.  The afternoon provided the opportunity for a viewing of the recently completed conservation work as well as a discussion of plans for the future use of St Margaret’s. Lloyd Grossman emphasised that it was important the Church continued to be used by the community, if possible including events that could contribute to the CCT with their continuing funding commitments for St. Margaret's and many other churches in their care. The following pictures were taken on this occasion.

Final Service of Thanksgiving at the Church of

St. Margaret of Antioch. 30th. December 2007

prior to the hand over to the Churches Conservation Trust.

On Sunday 30th. December a service of Evensong took place as a thanksgiving for all those who had worshiped and worked for St. Margaret's over many centuries. The Bishop of Bedford  - Rt. Revd. Richard Inwood preached and assisted the Rector - Revd. Robert Evens The Church will now be put into the care of  The Churches Conservation Trust  Further pictures  follow taken on this occasion.



The following description and history of the Village and the Church was prepared in December 1983.

The Village of Knotting

The village of Knotting has been settled since Saxon times. The name which means "place of the Sons of Cnot" is considered to date from the late 5th Century, the earliest days of Saxon settlement in England. The first recorded reference to it is in the Domesday Book (1086) where it is wrongly spelt as "Chenotinga". Later versions of the name are recorded as "Cnottinga" (1196), "Gnottinge" (1276), "Knotyng" (1337), "Nottinge" in the 16th Century and "Knottinge" in the 17th. Little is known about the general history of Knotting which has always been small - the population reached a maximum in the middle of the 19th Century but has now dwindled back to about 100 - about the same as it was at the time of the Domesday Book. In 1176 the whole village was fined 2 marks for trespass in the Kings Forest which almost surrounded it. James 1. wrote a letter about the Red Deer in Knotting in 1604. Perhaps the best known event told about Knotting was the cock fighting which actually took place in the Chancel of the Church on Shrove Tuesdays in 1634, 1635, 1636. Even the Churchwardens and the Rector appear to have been present. Action to stop this practice was taken under Archbishop Laud in 1637 and the aged Rector, Arthur Alvey, lost his living. The story also goes that an Order in Council was made that the Chancel should be kept locked except during services. This has not been verified, but certain it is that the beautiful chancel gates were kept padlocked until recently. For many years all the land in the Parish was owned by large outside landlords. At one time this was the Bedford Estates, but after passing through various other hands during the later 19th Century, the holdings were broken up within the last 50 years. The Great West Wood (on the A.6) is owned by the Forestry Commission.

Church of St. Margaret of Antioch

Although the population of the village is now so small, the Church continues in regular use. The Church building as it now exists definitely suggests a Saxon origin because of the arch leading into the tower in the west wall. It is certain that a church existed in 1176 when the Bishop of Exeter arbitrated in a dispute about it between the Priory of St. Neots and the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. . The arch between the Nave and the Chancel is generally considered to date from circa 1140 and the chancel itself to have been rebuilt in the 14th Century. The South transept is thought to have been built about 1280. Originally there was a south aisle but this is known to have been demolished in 1645. lt  probably lay south of the chancel. The only door is considered to be 16th Century work and the present porch was erected by Mr. C. Magniac of Colworth in December 1888. The unusual pulpit and sounding board are thought to be 17th Century work, and the oak pews date from before the Reformation. The font probably dates from the 14th Century and was lined with lead in 1888. The iron chandelier in the chancel is probably medieval, although it was only placed here in recent times. Photographs of the Church  taken before the recent refurbishment by Alan Woodfield (approx.2003)
St. Margaret of Antioch,  Knotting
St. Margaret’s Church Knotting Bedfordshire Mk44 1AE
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