Milton Parish Church
As previously mentioned, All Saints’ Church was built after the Norman Conquest, the oldest features being the late 11th century or early `12th century arch between the chancel and the nave. After this the south and north aisles were added to the nave in the 13th century.
The south aisle became the manorial chapel with its own piscina (for washing hands and communion cups). Memorial plaques for the 18th-19th century Knight family, lords of the manor, are to be found on the walls of this aisle. Beneath the floor of the aisle, is the barrel vault containing the coffins of six members of the Knight family. Stained glass in the east and south windows relate to lords of the manor. At the west end of the south aisle is the 12th century font and nearby attached to a wall is a 13th century coffin lid. The south aisle was restored in the mid-19th century with money from the lord of the manor, John Percy Baumgartner; the south porch was built at this time. Above the inside of the south porch is a Royal Coat of Arms to George II transferred from All Saints’ Church, Landbeach in 1826, and in the west wall next to the porch is a colourful 19th century stained glass window depicting Jacob’s Dream ‘ladder to heaven’.
The roof of the nave is a 17th barrel roof with moulded tiebeams and pendants; before the reign of Elizabeth I the roof was thatched. The nave possesses three bayed arcades separating it from the south and north aisles respectively, the whole is of the decorated style of the 14th century. The pulpit and reading desk were gifts from the 19th century Rector John Chapman, and the lectern an Easter gift from the Rev Dr Charles Giles in 1865 who lived at Milton Hall.
The nave leads into the 13th century chancel, here there are many features to see. On the left are the 15th century carved wooden misericords of the choir stalls, beyond this the vestry door, re-used from the old pre-1846 rectory. The altar or communion table is separated from the chancel by the 17th century altar rail, previously in King’s College and acquired by William Cole for All Saints’ in 1779.
Either side of the altar are old grave slabs. On the left is the monumental brass of William Cook, lord of the manor and his wife and family. The large east window restored in 1847 with money from King’s College (patrons of the church), is in the decorated style. On the south wall nearest the altar is the double 13th century piscina, adjacent to this the 16th century sedilia, stone seats for the clergy. Above this is a 19th stained glass window depicting the marriage of Cana, to the left of this is the 15th century priests door to the churchyard. Finally, the roof with its extensive timber beams was restored in the style of Pugin in the 19th century.
The north aisle is where William Cole had his pew in the late 18th century. Cole also gave some rare and valuable stained glass to the church for incorporation into the east window of the north aisle which was later lost (see below). There are two other small stained glass windows here, one on the west wall, the other on the north wall of the aisle depicting the anointing of Christ with oil, this is late 19th century after demolition and restoration of the aisle in 1864. The aisle had already badly deteriorated before Cole died in 1782. Final comment on the lost east window. This occurred when that part of the window with Cole’s stained glass, was removed to make way for one of the two doors into the new church hall, built adjacent to the north wall of the aisle in the 1980’s, here the other door was placed.
The tower dates from the late decorated period of the 14th century and connects with the west end of the nave where the organ is sited. Within the tower are four bell ropes connected to four bells, one of these is linked to the clock to strike the hour; the clock has been electrically wound since 1980. The clock was installed in 1848 as compensation from the Great Eastern Railway for loss of land to the railway in Milton Fen. Externally, the tower has two stage buttresses on the south west and north west corners, while three stage buttresses are on the north and south corners; a later battlement parapet is present at the top of the tower. Other features are a west window, a gargoyle and carved heads at the base of the window arch and on the south wall.
The churchyard contains a number of graves with distinctive monuments of old Milton families, notably the Gunnells; there are also graves for past Rectors and priests. By 1897 the churchyard was full, therefore the Rector John Chapman and King’s College secured a half acre of land from Pembroke college situated off the Landbeach Road for a new burial ground in 1893, the first burials occurred in 1901. Today, there is still some room for the burial of ashes in the churchyard in addition to that in the Landbeach Road cemetery.
Finally, All Saints’ Church was so named in 1520. Both Rectors and Vicars, and Curates prevailed until 1846 when only Rectors occurred residing in a new rectory built in 1846. This rectory became the administrative building for the ‘Each’ Children’s Hospice in the 1980’s and another rectory was built nearby. Here, the current Rector resides, who is also priest-in-charge of Landbeach and Waterbeach churches.