All Saints Church, Odell
Encouraging more tourists and visitors to our church is a new venture for us, supported by the installation of a disabled toilet and refreshment area due to be installed Sep-Dec 2009.
For group visits, public toilets can be made available at Odell Village Hall (but no wheelchair access).
History of the church and postcards available to purchase. Free short guide and children's trails available for church & churchyard. Pictorial history of Odell and photographic collections available to view. Café in the Tower serving light refreshments available some weekends.
Our beautiful church was built in the 15thC in the perpendicular style, using Northamptonshire limestone, and replaced an earlier building. The nave and aisles are separated by slender, clustered piers with lofty wave moulded arches which form four bays. Stoneheads hold up the timber roof. The tower is embattled and decorated with brown ironstone around the corona, and many gargoyles adorn the outside of the building. Some medieval pews remain, and 17thC carved screens form the entrance to the chancel and the tower at each end of the nave.
In 1868-69, the Rector Rev'd William Cornish Hunt, paid out of his own pocket for the roof of the chancel to be renewed and for oak stalls made in Sharnbrook to be installed in the nave. Restoration work carried out at the same time revealed curious fresco paintings on the south and north walls, and though these have long since disappeared they, and other artefacts, are recorded in a book of illustrations made for the Rector by his daughter and now kept in the County archives.
Because of the extremely poor social conditions in Odell at that time, Rev'd Hunt, encouraged young men of the village to emigrate to Australia or Canada. Today we welcome their descendents who return to trace their roots and see the place in which their forebears once lived, worked and worshipped.
Our most famous Rector was Rev'd Peter Bulkley, a passionate preacher and nonconformist Anglican, was forced out of his living by the reforms of Archbishop Laud. His first wife having died in childbirth, he married the local Squire's daughter, and a month later, he and his family, with many other Odell residents, emigrated to the New World. At first they settled in log cabins in the woods, but later Rev'd Bulkley invested much of his considerable personal fortune in founding the town of Concord, Massachusetts, and building the First Church of Concord. His son was one of the first students to attend Havard University, and his grand-daughter married Rev'd John Emerson - the famous philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson was their son. A visit to the Bulkley family website reveals a direct line of descent from Rev'd Peter Bulkley to the former American President George W Bush.
Just over 50 years ago, links with the First Church in Concord were renewed, when they generously donated towards the restoration of the church bells, and later to the restoration of some medieval window glass. Since then, visits to and from have kept the link alive, and visiting Americans often return here to trace their family history.
We have a peaceful and attractively situated churchyard which is actively managed to promote diversity of wildlife; over 100 different lichens, some uncommon in Beds, have been identified (list available)
As a place of regular worship, we offer sacred space for quietness and reflection - mown labyrinth proposed for 2009.
The popular Harrold & Odell county park lies within the parish, just a short walk away - 3 lakes, riverside walk, bird-hide, activities throughout the year, Tea-Zels café serving meals and a variety of refreshments. The nearby Bell PH also offers a varied home-cooked menu at reasonable prices.
Generally free entry to the church, but charges apply for entry to exhibitions, concerts, tower trips and guided tours for groups.
|Season Dates||Opening Hours|
|Notes||Mon-Fri - Details of where to obtain key displayed on noticeboard by church gate.|
ContactRev'd Christine Clark
01234 720 234
email a friend
VenueAll Saints Church, Odell
The Rectory, High Street, Odell, Bedfordshire, MK43 7AA
Map reference: SP 966583 Lat: 52.21445 Long: -0.58752
From A6 between Bedford-Rushden, turn west via Sharnbrook. Church on right as you approach village. (Alternative route from A6 via Milton Ernest, Radwell and Felmersham -liable to flooding when river levels are high).
From A509 (Olney-Wellingborough) turn east via Lavendon, then take left hand turn to Harrold. At T-junction at the end of Harrold High Street turn left, then take next right into Odell High St. Go past The Bell PH, and up hill to the church.
By Public Transport:
Odell village is on main bus route Bedford-Rushden (125). Additional bus service (126) also runs to Harrold village (1 mile away) - there is an attractive walk to Odell through the Harrold & Odell Country Park (3 lakes, bird-hide, and Tea-Zels Café at the Harrold end).
Parking : free
Accessible by Public Transport : 10 miles (16.1 kms) from Bedford station