St Botolph's History

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Parish
The earliest records of the village start around 1090. It was originally in the manor of Spaldwick which belonged to the Abbey of Ely, it was given to the Bishop of Lincoln in 1139 in compensation for loss of estates at the time of the foundation of the see of Ely in 1109, it was transferred back to the diocese of Ely in 1837. The first mention of a Vicar of Spaldwick is in 1248.

Although there is now no park or woodland, the Bishop of Lincoln had licence in 1215 to assart Stow Grove (the name of which remained until very recently) containing 20 acres to impark it. In 1330 he had a further licence to impark 100 acres adjoining that area. A district, formerly known as Stow, was in two parishes. The eastern part (Estou), in which was the church and present village, and known as Long Stow or Netherstow, was within the Soke of Spaldwick and was a considerable area. The western part, not quite half the size of the eastern half, was called Overstow and has always been in the parish of Kimbolton.

After generally being referred to simply as 'Stow', the parish reverted to the ecclesiastical name of Stow Longa in 1955. The Parish occupies around 844 acres of land.

Population in 1801 - 139 Population in 1901 - 109 Population in 1971 - 118
Population in 1851 - 239 Population in 1951 - 84 Population in 1991 - 116

Valuation
In 1254 was 17 10s.
In 1291 was 42 6s. 8d. (Taxatio p. 36b)

Church
Although the church is not mentioned in the Doomsday survey of 1086, the presence of a pre-conquest slab with interlaced work seems to indicate an early church on the site, whilst numerous remains of the 12th century date point conclusively to a stone church at that period. The whole church was apparently rebuilt about the middle of the 13th century; the south arcade and the south aisle were built last around 1280. The eastern end of the south aisle was rebuilt and widened to form a south chapel sometime around 1330; about the same time, new windows were inserted into the aisle walls. In the 15th century, the south arcade was rebuilt, probably after a fall, and the clearstory was added. The west tower was built and the western responds to the nave arcades were rebuilt around 1500.

Sometime, probably in the 17th century, the upper part of the clearstory and the nave roof fell or were taken down and a poor barn-like roof was put on. The chancel and chancel arch were largely rebuilt in 1880, and the rest of the church was restored from 1888 to 1893, when the south chapel and the east wall of the north aisle were largely rebuilt. The upper part of the clearstory was rebuilt and re-roofed in 1901, the aisles were also repaired and re-roofed, and the south door reset. The north-west corner of the north aisle was partly rebuilt in 1906.

There is an analysis of the mermaid found over the priests door on the CRSBI web site which explains that the mermaid represents the siren call of temptation, the beast on the left represents the Devil or Hell and the beast on the right represents Jesus Christ. The engraving therefore warns of the dangers of yielding to worldly temptation and the choice we have between Christ and the Devil.

The Vicarage was built in 1845 by the Rev. John Bligh who died in 1876. In 1882 his executors sold it to the Ecclesiastical Commisioners who buit the kitchen and bedrooms above.
Rev. George Edward Sharland took over from Rev. Bligh in 1876 and between 1880 and 1906 he restored the church in Stow Longa at a cost of over a thousand pounds and went on to restore his other in Easton where he was also vicar, calling upon the services of his son in law, the architect Sidney Inskip Ladds (ARIBA).
At the turn of the century it was the habit of the children in the village when playing near the Village Cross to run round and round its base cause wear and tear.
The vicar at the time, Rev. Sharland, was most concerned and asked Sydney Ladds, to repair it. He added steps around the base and replaced the weather vane with a stone cross.
It was in 1901 that the Rev. Sharland was appointed Rural Dean of Kimbolton.

Historic Photos of the Church and village from the end on the 19th century



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