Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Friday, January 2, 2015

January 630 A.D. Soham Monastery, Cambridgeshire—Founded by Felix, 1st Bishop of the East Saxons; Felix Allegedly Had See Here; Destroyed in Danish Raids, 870/871; Parish Church of St. Andrew’s Purportedly Occupies Site

January 630 A.D.  Soham Monastery, Cambridgeshire—Founded by Felix, 1st Bishop of the East Saxons;  Felix Allegedly Had See Here;  Destroyed in Danish Raids, 870/871;  Parish Church of St. Andrew’s Purportedly Occupies Site

Ross, David. “Soham, St. Andrew’s Church.” British Express.  N.d.  Accessed 20 Nov 2014.

The church of St Andrew's at Soham is a superb cruciform building, begun around 1180 and rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries. At first glance this latter work makes the church appear to be Perpendicular, but there are ancient underpinnings.

Indeed, St Andrew's can date its beginnings back to the mid-7th century, when St Felix established a monastery here as part of his effort to Christianize the East Angles. The monastery was sacked and destroyed by the Danes sometime around 870AD.

Around 900 a Saxon cathedral was erected at Soham, and the relics of St Felix were kept at the cathedral (they were later pilfered by monks from Ramsey Abbey in 1030, in a daring midnight raid that would not have been out of place in a modern spy thriller). Traces of the Saxon church can be seen incorporated into the current building.

The interior architecture is simply superb; the 15th century clerestory windows make the church seem light and spacious inside. Beside the main entry is the tomb of Mary D'Aye, the great-grand daughter of Oliver Cromwell.

Abolitionist and former slave Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797) was married to Susanna Cullen in Soham church in 1792. They had two children, and both were baptised here.

The roof is a wonderful piece of late medieval craftsmanship. In common with many East Anglian churches it has alternating hammer and tie beams, ornamented with carved wooden figures of angels. It seems quite likely that the roof was the work of the same team of craftsmen responsible for the roof at
St Andrew's church in Isleham.

In the north transept is a quite lovely 15th century screen, beautifully carved and painted. Also from the 15th century are a series of pews and misericords.

About Soham, St Andrew's Church
Address: Churchgate/Fountain Lane, Soham, Cambridgeshire, England, CB7 5ED
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Soham, St Andrew's Church
Location map
OS: TL591732
Photo Credit: John Salmon, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence

No comments: