The first reference to a church on the site of St Andrew’s can be found in the Domesday Book of 1086:
Fineberga [Finborough]: King’s land, kept by Godric; Count Eustace; Abbot of Ely and Roger d’Auberville from him. Meadow 26 acres. Woodland 12 pigs. 1 mill. 1 church. 0.25 church land
So there has been a church on the site of St Andrew’s for almost 1000 years, the existing building being at least the third on this site. The first recorded incumbent, John de Boteler, was priest in the parish from 1314 to 1344, when the church was described as a small building “consisting of nave, chancel, south porch with bell turret and one bell.”
The foundations for the present building, designed by the architect R M Phipson, were laid in 1875. A statue of St. Andrew, recognisable by the diagonal cross that he carries, occupies the niche above the south porch – the main entrance of the church – which is all that remains of the previous medieval structure.
From the west door there is a wonderful view across the valley towards Buxhall church and beyond. The tower above the west door houses six bells and the spire stands almost 300 feet high.
Memorial slabs to the Wollastons, former lords of the manor, were relaid in the floor of the tower having been removed from the earlier church. More can be found in front of the chancel arch and two thirteenth century grave slabs are mounted against the west wall.
Inside the church there is an octagonal font-a memorial to Alan Kitching, the only son of the then vicar – which was remodelled in 1875 to match the style of the rest of the new building.
Large Victorian angel corbels support the main timbers of the nave roof; some are positioned between the windows while others overlap the arches – a result of some repositioning of the windows after the final design of the church was approved, but before the work started!
An ornate rood screen separates the nave from the chancel. This was erected in 1925 in memory of those who lost their lives in the 1914-1918 war.
Behind the altar there are ornately carved stone reredos, to the right the piscina and the sedilia.
The side chapel contains memorials, mainly to the Wollastons and Pettiwards, some of which date from the eighteenth century and were reinstalled having been removed from the previous smaller church.
The fine stained glass windows, from the studio of Clayton and Bell – one of the largest Victorian producers, known for its quality and design – is one of the most striking features of the church.
More recently, to commemorate the Millenium, some beautiful examples of modern church embroidery were introduced and kneelers were designed, worked and financed by local people.
See the Angels & Pinnacles website for more pictures and information.