News & Photos
Highlights of parish life in Houghton Regis
All Saints’ Parish Church suffered a break-in on Saturday 22 August at about 10:55pm. The incident was caught on the church’s CCTV cameras. The footage shows a single white male in his 20s or 30s forcing two collection boxes and spending about 20 minutes in the building looking for money or valuables. The man gained access to the church by forcing a protection grill and breaking the lower section of a stained-glass window in the sanctuary (north-easternmost window). Another protection grill was also damaged in a failed attempt to gain entry to another part of the church.
Collection boxes are emptied regularly, and we can safely assume the man made away with very little cash. However, the damage done the sanctuary window is great, and it will be rather costly to put right.
If you wish to donate to All Saints’ please follow this link: https://www.allsaintshr.co.uk/giving.html
The incident has been recorded and investigated by Bedfordshire Police, Crime Number 40/45800/20
We are pleased to report that Central Bedfordshire Council has granted planning permissions to All Saints’ for the construction of the Memorial Path in the churchyard linking Bedford Square gate to the south door of the church.
We envisage the new path to become a dignified place of remembrance in the beautiful surroundings of All Saints’ churchyard. To this aim the path will be flanked by memorial plaques (or slabs) which can be sponsored and personalized with the names of loved ones, as well as their years of birth and death.
It has been a long time coming, as collection of sponsorship money began in three years ago. The delay has been twofold. First, our planning application had been returned last year because the planning officers wanted more information and more accurate drawing about the project. This has now been approved thanks to the work of our architects – Michael Dales Partnership. Secondly, urgent works of restoration to the fabric of All Saints’ have had to take priority in order to make the building weatherproof once again. These works are currently on the way.
We are now seeking again approval from the ecclesiastical authorities, and putting the project out for tender for a second time.
If you wish to contribute to this project you can sponsor a memorial plaque today – details on the Memorial Path page.
Major works of restoration to the fabric of All Saints’ Parish Church have begun last month and they are expected to last until December 2019. These works are essential for making the outer wall of the Grade I listed building weather-proof and thus ensuring the conservation of the unique heritage of All Saints’.
The striking checkered pattern of All Saints’ is going to be meticulously restored and repointed in many parts by resetting flints and replacing eroded stones with local Totternhoe clunch. Clunch is a type of chalk employed in construction in our area since Roman times, and it is the same type of material that was used in the middle-ages for the construction of Parish Church. Minor internal works will ensure that space at the back of the nave could be used more flexibly – a short length of heating pipes is going to be placed under the floor and the back pews will be relocated or removed.
The works are being carried out by Weldon Stone Enterprises of Weldon, Corby – an experienced firm which specializes in restoration and conservation of churches and historical buildings – under the directions of Matthew Stevens of Michael Dales Partnership – a local architects’ practice currently working with over 120 Churches across the diocese of St. Albans, Oxford & Peterborough.
The building site and church premises are alarmed, monitored by CCTV, and lit where necessary to deter antisocial behaviour and heritage crime in the churchyard whilst the works are carried out.
This is the first substantial project of this type which the Parochial Church Council (PCC) have embarked on since the restoration of the tower in the early 90s. It has been made possible thanks to the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund which is sponsoring most of the works. Other two charities are also contributing; the All Churches Trust, and Beds and Herts Historic Churches Trust. Houghton Regis Town Council was among the first bodies to donate towards this restoration when it was still being planned back in 2016.
Even though this project will total to over £250,000 the PCC is currently seeking further funding for other works linked to this project. For example, a new drainage system needs to be installed (£68,000), and glasswork is in needs of extensive renovation (£80,000).
Donations are always gratefully received as All Saints’ does not receive any money from government or the Church of England. There are many ways in which you can support our work and make a lasting difference in the preservation of the heritage of Houghton Regis. Visit our Giving Pages to find out more. Additionally, you can donate online, or send a cheque to
Restoration and Renewal,
FAO Fr Diego Galanzino SMMS,
The Clergy House,
Houghton Regis, LU5 5SJ
The Parish Church of All Saints’ has been awarded support by the National Lottery Heritage Fund for its restoration project (Delivery Phase). Made possible by National Lottery players, the project began last year with an initial grant of £25,700 and it now has been awarded full funding for the second phase in the sum of £224,300.
This project has a two-fold aim; to make critical repairs to Houghton Regis Parish Church and to engage local people in their exceptional heritage.
The first and main part of the project will begin on Monday 3rd June. It aims to carry out essential conservation work to the outside of our Grade I listed building; the outer structure of the church is in desperate need of repair – its striking chequered pattern of flint and Totternhoe stone needing extensive renovation and having been breached in places.
The second part of the project will also begin in the coming months. This aims to put in place an educational programme with a number of cultural activities to engage local residents in the unique historical, cultural, and spiritual heritage preserved at All Saints’. The project will involve recruitment and training of volunteers to keep the Parish Church open for tourists and visitors longer during the day, as well as promoting inspiring and interactive visits from our local schools.
All Saints’ Parish Church has been listed by Historic England in the Heritage at Risk register since October 2016, and it will continue to be listed in it at least throughout the Delivery Phase. However, support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is a great boost of confidence and precious financial help for our parish which is currently engaged in a wider Restoration and Renewal Project estimated at an extra £300,000 over the National Lottery support (for example, glasswork conservation alone is estimated to cost £80,000). This is also a great boost of confidence for our town which is already benefitting from the excellent work done at Houghton Hall Park and also supported by the National Lottery.
For more information please contact the Parish Priest, Father Diego Galanzino SMMS, or visit our website allsaintshr.co.uk/restoration
Notes to editors
Grants for Places of Worship applications are assessed in two rounds. This press release concerns the second round. The Parish Church of All Saints was initially been granted round one development funding of £25,700 by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2018.
About All Saints’ Houghton Regis
All Saints’ is the Parish Church of Houghton Regis, in the Diocese of St Albans. The current building, built between 14th and 15th centuries, replaces an earlier church and it is the only listed building in Houghton Regis to be regularly and freely open to the public. More information about the building’s heritage, the parish community, and its tradition can be found on our website.
About the National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk. Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund