Book on Middleton's church windows launched at the end of fundraising campaign

A book on the beautiful William Morris stained glass windows of Middleton Cheney's church is launched this weekend.

Rev Nick Leggett of All Saints Church, Middleton Cheney
Rev Nick Leggett of All Saints Church, Middleton Cheney

Publication of the book coincides with the end of a long campaign to fund repair of the roof of All Saints Church - a major undertaking.

Villagers have raised over £50,000 as its contribution to the cost. The project attracted a sizeable grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The repairs were made necessary because of theft of the traditional lead flashing which has become a huge problem for many ancient churches.

The replacement is made out of steel which has no scrap value to thieves. Historic England agreed to the change in material to preserve the building's William Morris artistic heritage..

Rev Nick Leggett said: "A big thank you to everybody who supported the fundraising campaign. It has been a major undertaking to raise the £50,000 which was the necessary contribution from the church members and wider village community on top of the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.With the scaffolding now down the building is back to being a photogenic location for weddings.

“The new terne-coated steel covering is now finished and the church looks better than ever. Raising the nearly £70,000 needed was a team effort from the church and the village with hundreds of donations from pence upwards.

"Many events were enjoyed as part of the fund-raising and it has been great to see church and village coming together. Thanks and recognition go to the Heritage Lottery Fund who contributed over £200,000 to the overall cost that was close to £300,000. Now we just need to get the floodlighting fixed and a new boiler. There’s always another job in a Grade 1 listed building like ours," he said.

"As part of the project we are publishing a book on the church's stained glass windows which are largely the work of Britain’s most famous interior designer, William Morris. This is the first time the widows have been properly catalogued and the book contains illustrative, full colour photographs of them."

The book is being launched at All Saints on Saturday at 11.00am.