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Mogerhanger Church

Moggerhanger Church from the west November 2007
Moggerhanger Church from the west November 2007

Until Mogerhanger became an ecclesiastical parish| in its own right, Church of England residents of the village would have travelled to the parish church at Blunham| for worship, baptisms, marriages and burials. By 1851, however, over 40% of the population of the parish was in Mogerhanger; a church was needed more locally to serve the needs of the community.  Mrs. Elizabeth Dawkins of Mogerhanger House, widow of the Rev. Edward Henry Dawkins, offered to build a church in the village in memory of her husband.  The church of St. John the Evangelist was built of Kempston stone and red sandstone from Silsoe, and was designed by William Slater in an early Norman| style.  It has nave| and aisles| with a western entrance and south door, an extended north aisle, a pyramid roof capping the crossing tower, and an apsidal chancel|.  Nicholas Pevsner in the Bedfordshire volume of his Buildings of England series described the exterior as "serious, bold and austere". The builder was Conquest of Kempston. Work began with the laying of the foundation stone on 19th September 1859, and was completed the following year.

The east end of Moggerhanger church October 2009
The east end of Moggerhanger church October 2009

Inside, original furnishings included a carved stone font, an organ by Bevington (the gift of Colonel Thornton of Saint John’s House), the church plate and three stained glass windows in the apse, fine early examples of work by Clayton & Bell.  When in 1887-8 a new organ chamber was built on the north side of the tower (in the portion of the north aisle extended originally to form the vestry), a new organ by Richardson & Sons (of London and Manchester) was installed.  Later additions include a chancel screen, dedicated in 1912, and the installation of stained glass windows between 1881-1920 by makers Mayer & Co. of Munich, Hardman of Birmingham and Powell of Whitefriars.

Moggerhanger church from the east November 2007
Moggerhanger church from the east November 2007

The church was consecrated on 31st July 1860, and Moggerhanger became a separate ecclesiastical parish that same year, on 30th October. Note that Mogerhanger is the civil parish| spelling and Moggerhanger the spelling of the ecclasiastical parish.

Moggerhanger Church and Vicarage taken around 1900
Moggerhanger Church and vicarage about 1900