The Parish of Abbots Ripton with Woodwalton
St Andrew's Church
The first thing you notice about St Andrew's church is that it stands in lonely splendour in fields about a mile north of Woodwalton village. The isolated position of the church is thought to be due to a measure of convenience, being equally distant originally from Woodwalton Castle, a motte and bailey castle to the north, Sawtry Abbey to the west and the village settlement to the south.
Listed in the Domesday survey, the ‘modern’ church is a Grade II* listed building. The south aisle was built c. 1250, and c. 1330 the north aisle was added and the chancel rebuilt. The tower is thought to date from the 14th century and the clerestory, the 16th century .
The church underwent major refurbishment between 1856 and 1859 during which a vestry was added. The vestry was then rebuilt in 1897, then finally modified in 1911 to form the organ chamber.
The church was declared redundant 1976 and closed; it is now in the care of the Friends of Friendless Churches, (although the name is not entirely deserved since there is also a Friends of St Andrew's). The structure is in urgent need of repair and renovation; the church's foundations are moving, the tower and the body of the church are settling at different rates and there is also serious cracking in the chancel. Because of this structural instability, the church is not usually open to casual callers.