The exact origins of All Saints' Church, Rampton are unknown, however the Saxon grave slabs and fragments of a cross embedded in the east wall of the church show that people have been worshipping on the site for over a thousand years. The manor is Rampton is recorded in the Doomsday book as belonging to 'Roger from Picot of Cambridge' although the church (if present) is not mentioned. The Church first enters the historical records in a grant of c. 1092. Roger and his wife founded a church dedicated to St. Giles and granted the Church at Rampton to the canons there.
The earliest surviving structure in the Church is the chancel arch. The two columns date from the twelfth century, although the arch at that time would have been substantially narrower. The north column is in its original position whilst the southern one was moved to its present location c. 1330, when the current arch was built and the church was extended to its present size. The Lady chapel was also added at this time and the first three of the pillars separating this from the nave date to this phase of the building.
The next major alterations to the fabric of the church were made in the fifteenth century, when the remaining two pillars were added between the nave and where the organ now stands. The exact date of construction of the bell tower is unknown, it may have been built in the fourteenth century as a separate, free-standing building, or may have been constructed with the extension of the nave in the fifteenth.
During the medieval period the church would have looked very different to the bare white walls we see today. The interior would have been highly decorated and brightly painted. Fortunately, some of the early paintings have survived and are exposed, mainly on the North wall of the Nave. The first scheme is the simplest, consisting of a red brick design with a single red flower inside each brick. This is followed by a more naturalistic pattern in green and red, depicting wild vines. On top of this has been painted a faded portrait of St. Christopher with Christ on his shoulder. The last painting is also the most badly damaged, but is possibly of St George riding out to meet the Dragon. Certainly a shield bearing a red cross, a lance and possibly a feathered helmet can be seen in good light.
The next major alteration was the addition of the current 'Queen post' roof. It is clear that the beams of the roof were not originally designed for this church; the beams are not centred in between the arches and the beams have been crudely cut to fit the shapes of the chancel and tower arches. The roof is reputed to have originally been part of a building at Barnwell Priory that was destroyed during the Reformation. The roof fits All Saints' rather imperfectly, being rather steeply pitched and it is to this that we owe the survival of the thatch; The roof and walls could not support the weight of tiles.
Further additions were made to the church in the nineteenth century, notably the porch and vestry. At some point the East window was much reduced in size from the medieval original, probably to increase the stability of the East wall. The final major phase of construction occurred in the early part of the twentieth century under the auspices of the then Rector, Evelyn White. He over saw the restoration of the East window to its former size and included the recently uncovered Saxon stonework in the rebuilding of the East wall. His tenure also saw the installation of new pews, which are faithful copies of the Medieval originals, one of which was left intact. It was around this time that the tower gained a further three bells.. The final bell, which takes the total to today's six, was installed in the late 1940’s in memory of Lt Commander Havers of HMS Dasher who died when his ship blew up in the River Clyde on 27th March 1943. The bell carries a dedication to Lt Commander Havers who was a relative of Reverend Havers the Rector at the time in Rampton.
In 2018 the Parish of Rampton combined with the neighbouring Parish of Cottenham. At the same time, All Saints Rampton became a Festival church. The change was a response to the decline in regular worship and smaller congregations. The designation of Festival church allows the village of Rampton to retain a much-loved working Church whilst joining forces with our neighbours in Cottenham for regular Parish worship.
A group of local Rampton residents has come together to co-ordinate efforts to maintain and preserve this very special Church for future generations.
As well as preserving the fabric and structure of the building, the group aims to maintain a position for All Saints at the heart of our community, as a place of worship and also a wonderful space in which the community of all faiths and no faith can come together for events and activities.
If you would like to help or support the future of All Saints' please follow the link below