St Mary's as it was in the past and where it is now...
St Mary's... a brief history...
Our beautiful and ancient church is very popular with brides as an historic and photogenic venue for their weddings.
The church building is mainly of thirteenth and fourteenth century construction; though Sundon village was already well established by 1066, with a weekly market. There is evidence that the Black Death reached Streatley, but no historical record of it reaching Sundon. Legend has it that victims were buried in a separate triangular part of the churchyard and the village moved up the hill, leaving the church rather isolated.
Architecturally, St. Mary's is nearly all 'Decorated', a historical division of English Gothic architecture covering the period from circa 1290 to circa 1350. The tower doorway, chequered pattern tower top, higher stair turret and chancel east window are Perpendicular, circa 1335-50 to circa ' 1530.
Originally St. Mary's came under the care of Markyate Priory, but with the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1566 by Henry Vlll, it became part of the diocese of Ely, by the eighteenth century Lincoln and finally St. Albans. At the visitations of 1518 and 1530, Sundon and its deteriorating parsonage house are mentioned among several churches in Bedfordshire in bad repair, at this time the vicarage was held in plurality with Flitwick.
By the nineteenth century, local churches, including Sundon, were vigilantly inspected by Archdeacon H. K. Bonney. Thus at Sundon, in 1823, he directed that, a new plated Flagon be purchased, and sundry alterations and repairs be made to the church. Damp has been a perennial problem at St. Mary’s but an article written in 1845 states that ’the church is in a very good state…’ however, this state of affairs was not to last long and in the great storm of October 1880 the roof was blown off the church. The Vicar of the time collected subscriptions towards the roof repairs but the church remained closed until 1883. The church continued to deteriorate and in 1913 it was closed.
Services continued to be held in the Vicarage, but in 1931 the Council for the Care of Churches was able to report that the work on Sundon Church was nearing completion and it was able to reopen in 1938.