All Saints and St James,

King’s Cliffe


The Church of All Saints and St James

Open daily during daylight hours, the Church of All Saints and St James is located in the heart of the oldest part of King's Cliffe. The church is situated on the site of a Saxon church, although the current building only dates back to the 12 th century with most of it being 15th century. The building is grade 1 listed, and as is to be expected of a building of this age, although in generally good repair, requires almost constant maintenance.

In the autumn of 2020, major works were carried out on the tower to stop rain leaking in, and the clock faces were regilded at the same time to make best use of the scaffolding.

In the autumn of 2021 additional stonework repairs were done to the spire and the weather cock was repaired and regilded.

Also in 2021, a new gas boiler was installed and the whole system was flushed and some rising pipework to the radiators replaced. We are currently seeking grants to fund the main repairs identified in the 2020 quinquennial report which are mainly many minor stone/flashing repairs.

The tower houses a ring of 6 bells which go well and have a good sound. The bells were retuned and rehung in 2012. The clock chimes the hours and quarters on the bells, and there is a team of bell ringers who ring for services, weddings and funerals as required.

There is a longer term aim to reorder the interior of the church. Among the proposals are better kitchen facilities for hosting the Community Café and offering refreshments at events, replacing the pipe organ with an electronic one which would allow the organist and the choir flexibility in location, and removing some or all of the pews to allow wider flexibility in how the space is used both for services and other activities. Overall, we want to encourage greater use of the building by the whole community.

The churchyard was closed for burials in about 1906 and is maintained by the Parish Council. There is also a large and recently extended cemetery in the village, also maintained by the Parish Council. Until recently, interments of ashes were still carried out in the churchyard but unless pre-arranged, these are now carried out in the cemetery.

All Saints and Saint James Church stands on an imposing site with the east wall of the chancel facing Hall Yard. The present rectory is a fine Georgian building which was formerly a mill house. The Parish of King's Cliffe is part of the Benefice of King's Cliffe, Bulwick and Blatherwycke, Collyweston, Easton-on-the-Hill and Laxton.

The tower is the earliest part of the church, built in the first half of the 12th century. The broach spire was added in the 13th century and the rest of the church dates mainly from the 15th century. There may have been an earlier Saxon church on this site, round headed windows can be observed in the north and south walls of the tower with their Saxon-style centre shafts and capitals. Similar windows have been blocked in the east and west walls. The west window can be seen from the nave high over the west chancel arch. Also note the Barnack stone quoins on the exposed north-east corner of the tower adjacent to the little outside door.

The Rectory, 3 Hall Yard, Kings Cliff, Kings Cliffe, Peterborough, PE8 6XQ

2012 bell restoration

Music in the church

Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart Ephesians” 5:19

King’s Cliffe is very fortunate to have its music led by Music Director and Organist Stephen Barber, a fully-qualified professional musician who donates a significant amount of his retirement time to our worship, which is well-appreciated by the King’s Cliffe congregation and wider community.

Music in Church

The hymns we sing are mostly traditional but we also sing a good number of more popular recent hymns and worship songs. We were using Kevin Mayhew’s Hymns Old and New but have just changed to the latest Ancient and Modern - “Hymns for Refreshing Worship”. This will give us scope to introduce a wider range of modern hymns which are of good quality. In addition to hymns, we use parts of A New People’s Mass by Dom Gregory Murray. Although this is well-written and singable, we are considering adding another setting or two for variety. The services on Third Sundays are more informal, normally using worship songs with backing tracks and a couple of singers leading the singing.

There is a loyal, committed and friendly choir in the church. The choir is female voices only and currently has 11 members: 5 sopranos, 3 school-age trebles and 3 altos. The choir rehearses most Wednesday evenings and sings to a good standard. They sing during the communion and have a repertoire of over 200 anthems. We were very pleased to be able to record an anthem and hymn every week for the online services during the lockdowns. The choir is occasionally augmented by some women from other parishes for Benefice-wide services.

The choir sings on Sunday mornings except third Sundays, and for occasional extra services such as Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Ascension Day, etc. They sing at weddings and funerals when requested, and take part in the Diocesan Choral Festival each year. The junior girls are encouraged to work through the RSCM Voice for Life syllabus and recently both the Dean’s Award and Bishop’s Award have been attained. We have quite an extensive library – from plainsong to contemporary – and we have a set of anthem books (The Oxford Book of Flexible Anthems). We also have sets of Carols for Choirs 1 & 2.

Instruments

The organ in the church is a small but fine 2-manual instrument built in 1865 by J.W Walker. It is rather boxed in but can comfortably cope with a full church when required.

There is a good-quality digital piano which is used for choir practices and occasionally for hymns for which it seems more appropriate. There is also a Yamaha keyboard, which is more portable and supports singing outdoors.

We have had a small band playing for the Crib Service in previous years, including guitars, woodwind, brass and string instruments.

Outreach activities

King’s Cliffe Church has a long history of outreach within the local community but the PCC have identified this as an area for development, particularly as regards youth ministry. For many years the church has sponsored a child in Africa and remains committed to away giving.

There is a Food Bank in the back of the church and the church administrator distributes food vouchers to those in need.

The church holds monthly coffee mornings on the second Wednesday of every month, providing an opportunity for local residents to meet and chat over coffee and homemade biscuits. These events always include a generously supported raffle and have raised considerable sums for the church. Previously these were held in the homes of local individuals but, since recommencing post Covid, they are in the back of the church. The church is also the meeting place for the monthly Women’s Fellowship meetings. 

Approximately ten years ago a toddler group was set up in the church which ran on Tuesdays during term time. This small, intimate setting provided vital support for pre-school aged children and their careers and developed a loyal following. Unfortunately this group has not yet restarted after the first lockdown of March 2020, but it is scheduled to do so in the spring. Several years ago, after recognising the problem of isolation in this rural area, the church set up a weekly community café on Friday mornings in the back of the church. The café is well attended by a wide cross section of people and raises between £60 - £80 per month for the church. A community law charity attended once a month to provide legal advice about benefits, housing and family break up. The café, excluding the community law charity, has successfully restarted post lockdowns and attendance is slowly returning to pre-covid levels, even attracting some of those working from home.

Our newly-gilded cockerel