Resources (15)

Some resources you may find useful

Children categories

History (2)

The history of the church in Milton

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All Saints All Together online - Thoughts for the Day

 While services have been suspended, All Saints has moved All Together Online - Thought For the Day videos can be found below, for other videos follow the links here:

Rev Chamberlin's Assemblies

Praise and Play

Sunday Services

Subscribe to the All Saints YouTube channel here

Catch up via podcast here


Ascension Day

Holy Week Reflections

Daily reflections as we journey through Holy Week

Holy Week Reflections (continued)

Daily reflections as we journey through Holy Week

Holy Week Reflections (continued)

Daily reflections as we journey through Holy Week

Thoughts for the day

Annunciation Day



All Saints All Together online - Praise & Play

 While services have been suspended, All Saints has moved All Together Online - Praise & Play videos can be found below, for other videos follow the links here:

Rev Chamberlin's Assemblies

Sunday Services

Thoughts for the Day

Subscribe to the All Saints YouTube channel here

Catch up via podcast here


Praise and Play

Wednesday 24th June

Wednesday 17th June

Praise and Play

Wednesday 10th June

Wednesday 3rd June

Wednesday 20th May

Praise and Play

Wednesday 13th May

Wednesday 6th May

Wednesday 29th April

Praise and Play

Wednesday 23rd April


All Saints All Together online - Assemblies

 While services have been suspended, All Saints has moved All Together Online - Rev Chamberlin's Assemblies can be found below, for other videos follow the links here:

Sunday Services

Praise and Play

Thoughts for the Day

Subscribe to the All Saints YouTube channel here

Catch up via podcast here


Rev. Chamberlin's Assemblies


Episode 5 (5th May)

Episode 4 (28th April)


Rev. Chamberlin's Assemblies


Episode 3

Episode 2

Episode 1



Electoral Roll Privacy Policy

This policy applies only to the Electoral Roll which is a public document - click here for the general All Saints' Privacy Policy


Who are we?

All Saints Church, Milton is the data controller (contact details below). This means it decides how your personal data is processed and for what purposes.

Why do we process your personal data?

We use the personal data you provide on the electoral roll application form to enable us to manage, maintain and publish the electoral roll in accordance with Church Representation Rules (CRR) to:
• determine eligibility for attendance and participation at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting and for election to the Parochial Church Council, deanery, diocesan and general synods where applicable;
• calculate the number of representatives who may be elected to each of these synods in the following year;
• undertake a review and revision of the electoral roll as necessary; and
• publish your name and address, by exhibiting the roll in the parish church.

What is the lawful basis for processing your personal data?

1. Processing for the purpose of determining eligibility, creating the electoral roll and use of the roll to calculate numbers for election to synod is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation. The processing is a statutory requirement imposed by the Church Representation Rules, which means that you must give us this information if you want to be included on the electoral roll.
2. Processing for the purpose of determining eligibility and creating or revising the electoral roll is carried out in the course of our legitimate activities, as this relates solely to members the Church of England in connection with its purposes.
3. Processing for the purpose of publishing the electoral roll relates to personal data which are manifestly made public by the data subject. When you apply to have your name added to the church electoral roll, the automatic legal consequence as stated in the CRR, (Part I Formation of the Roll 1(8) and Revision of Roll and Preparation of New Roll 2(1), 2(3) and 2(7)) is that your name and address will be published, and by submitting your application form you are making that data public.

Sharing your personal data

Your personal data will be shared within the institutional Church of England and with the general public.

How long do we keep your personal data?

We keep your personal data for 6 years after a complete review of the electoral roll.

Your rights and your personal data

Unless subject to an exemption you have the following rights with respect to your personal data:
• The right to request a copy of your personal data which we hold about you;
• The right to request that we correct any personal data if it is found to be inaccurate or out of date;
• The right to request your personal data be erased where it is no longer necessary for us to retain such data;
• The right, where there is a dispute in relation to the accuracy or processing of your personal data, to request that a restriction is placed on further processing;
• The right to object to the processing of your personal data for direct marketing and to have that processing stopped;
• The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office.

Contact Details: Electoral Roll Officer, 01223 441007, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can contact the Information Commissioners Office on 0303 123 1113 or via email or at the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AF.


View from the Tower

The clock

The church clock was installed in the tower in 1848, paid for largely by money received from the Great Eastern Railway as compensation for parish land acquired for the railway line. The clock chimes on the hour and was originally hand wound, but is now wound electrically and is rather loud if you happen to be in there at the time! In the clock room there are several initials carved into the wall by people from 1864 right through to 2001...

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The tower at All Saints contains four bells. At some point they have all been re-hung and no longer swing, rather the clapper is pulled by rope to strike the bell. The bell with the hammer is the hour chime of the clock.

 Below are some views from inside the bell room of the tower

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Views from the top

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All Saint's Church Clock

Article written by Dr Chris Thomas, November 2018


I grabbed the ancient six inch nail gratefully and heaved myself through the hatch, away from the top of the 30 foot steep ladder, steadied by John Uttin. I could hear the ticking of the clock but my eyes had to grow accustomed to the dark before the outline of the mechanism gradually became visible. I’d lived in Milton for over 30 years, but it took a planned talk on ‘A Briefer History of Time’ to finally get me to this long awaited moment. In the weeks that followed I learnt more about the history of our church clock, reaching back millennia before its installation in 1848.

The Clock, Then and Now

The clock at All Saints Milton was installed in 1848, paid for largely by money received from the Great Eastern Railway, as compensation for parish land acquired for the railway line that now hurries past Milton en-route from Cambridge to Ely. It was made in the traditional ‘Birdcage’ design. Basically, a large box like metal frame has a number of supporting vertical bars that hold rods with gears. The gears on the left half of the birdcage drive the clock. The gears on the right hand side drive the hourly chime. There were originally two sets of weights to provide power to each set of gears, with the larger weights needed to power the hammer that would strike the bell. The weights would have to be cranked up again from the tower to keep the clock running. The large weights were replaced with two electric motors that would automatically wind the clock and the chiming mechanisms in 19xx. Now, the only reason for climbing the precarious ladder into the tower is to adjust the clock timing every couple of weeks. Currently the clock is accurate to about one minute a week, unless the temperature changes significantly, in cold weather it tends to run fast, and hot weather runs a little slower.


Picture of The All Saints Milton Birdcage Clock. Far left, electric motor for clock weights. Centre, gears driving the clock. Left, gears driving the bell chime mechanism. The electric motor for the bell chime is out of picture on the right.

 How the Clock Works

Having taken numerous pictures of the clock, I began to work out how our Milton Clock worked at home, with the help of pictures and drawings. The basic principle is that the clock has a pendulum which rocks an escapement. The escapement regulates how much the first clock gear can move. The gear then transmits its movement to other gears, slowing the rotation down, until the final one, which is linked to a minute arm on the outside of the clock. The minute arm goes once around the clock face in 1 hour. The minute hand is linked to the hour hand by another gear which drives the hour hand around the clock face. The clock is driven by weights and wound up several times an hour by an electrical motor.

The basic elements of the clock

The following photo and the diagram show all the timekeeping parts of the clock.

  • The letter T, I, C, K and O show where the front end of different rods or axles are fixed to two of the (labelled X and Y) of the iron ‘birdcage’ in the photo. The other ends of the rods are held by bars at the back of the clock.
  • The diagram next to the photo has had some of the rods moved to one side to show the workings better. In reality all rods run parallel from clock front to back.
  • Rod T, at the top of bar X, is fixed to (1 - blue) the pendulum at the back of the clock and to (2 - mauve) the anchor escapment.
  • Gears (3 orange) and (4 - orange) are on the rod I.
  • Gears (5 – red) and (6 – red) are on the rod C.
  • Gear 7 is on rod K.
  • Gear (8 – green) is linked to the minute hand and dial (9 – yellow) on rod O
  • Each of the numbered elements also has a little arrow showing in which direction it moves.


The pendulum (1)

Invisible from the from the front of the clock, an approximately 1.5 m long (4 ½ ft) pendulum swings from side to side from the top-most rod, T. This is the clocks heartbeat and is the accurate timekeeper. Each swing back and forth on the Milton clock takes exactly 2.5 seconds. It was Leonardo da Vinci who, sitting bored in a church, noticed the regular swing of a pendulum. He experimented further and found that the time a pendulum takes to swing is dependent on how long it is.

The anchor escapement (2)

The pendulum is linked via the rod T to a claw like element, the escapement. This rocks back and forth over the spikily toothed gear (3), and for every swing to one side and back again, it moves the gear on by one tooth. This is the action that creates the ‘Tick-Tock’. Tick when it rocks to one side and tock when it rocks back to the other. Each tick-tock takes 2.5 seconds. I’ve recorded the sound of the All Saints clock and you can listen to it here at

The All Saints clock is accurate to about 2 minutes every fortnight.

The gear train from (3) to the minute hand (9)

The Tick-Tock of escapement against teeth of gear 3 moves the gear on by one tooth every 2.5 seconds. Gear 3 has 30 teeth and so it does one full revolution every 75 seconds. The aim of the following gears is to slow down the final gear 9 with the minute hand so that it turns once every 3600 seconds, or 1 hour.

The stages are as follows:



Time for gear to turn 1 revolution


Escapement turns gear 3 by one tooth every 2.5 seconds

Gear 3 has 30 teeth

Time to turn in seconds is 2.5 seconds x 30 =

75 seconds


Gear 3 is linked by a rod to gear 4

Gear 4 has 6 teeth

Time to turn is same as gear 3 =

75 seconds


Gear 4 with 6 teeth meshes with gear 5

Gear 5 has 72 teeth

Time to turn is 75 seconds x 72/6 = 75 seconds x 12 =

900 seconds


Gear 5 is fixed to gear 6

Gear 6 has 7 teeth

Time to turn is same as gear 5

900 seconds


Gear 6 meshes with gear 7

Gear 7 has 80 teeth

Time to turn is 900 seconds x 80/7 = 72000/7 =

10,285.714 seconds


Gear 7 meshes with gear 8

Gear 8 has 28 teeth

Time to turn is 10,285.713 seconds x 28/80

3600 seconds = 1 hour


Gear 8 is linked via a rod to the hand on the dial 9

Time for hand to turn is the same as gear 8 =

3600 seconds = 1 hour






Clock minute hand


The rod from gear nine also extends to the clock face on the outside of the tower where it turns the outside minute hand clockwise in 1 hour

3600 seconds = 1 hour

Clock hour hand


A gear on the same rod also ensures that the clock’s hour hand goes once around the clock in 12 hours.

12 hours

The use of weights and electricity to power the clock

If the sole power on the clock was provided by the pendulum, then the clock would soon stop due to friction. The clock actually needs to have a power source that nudges the pendulum just enough to keep it swinging.

In the past, All Saints clock had weights (A) attached to a cable around a drum (B) on the same rod as gear 7 as shown in the figure below. Gravity pulling on the weights provided a steady source of power to the clock.


  • The weight would try to turn gear 7.
  • The force would be transmitted to gears 6, then 5, 4 and finally 3.
  • The only thing stopping the transmitted force from making gear 3 end up spinning like a buzz saw is the escapement 2, which only allows the wheel to turn by one tooth at every swing back and forth of the pendulum.
  • The louder TOCK occurs when one tooth is released and the next tooth hits the right half of the claw of the escapement.
  • The tooth presses against the claw of the escapement and adds a tiny bit of energy to it, which is transmitted to the pendulum via the rod.
  • The lighter TICK occurs when the right hand of the claw rocks into the gap between the teeth on its side of the gear and keeps the gear from turning. This tooth also presses against the claw of the escapement and adds a tiny bit of energy to it which is transmitted to the pendulum.

As the weight gradually turned the drum, it would sink lower and lower on the unwinding cable. When the weight was getting close to the ground, a church- or clock-warden would have to climb up to the clock and wind the weight back up again. This could be done without turning the clock backwards in time.

In order to avoid excessive climbing up and down ladders – and the associated risks and time wasted, the power system for the All Saints Clock was changed to an automatic electric winding mechanism.


  • Rather than being attached to the original driver, gear 7, the weights and electric rewind are linked through to the rod bearing gears 6 and 5.
  • The larger weight at A in the figure above gradually sinks down a short distance till it trips a switch in the electric motor C which lifts it up until the weight hits another switch to turn off the lifting.
  • The weight then resumes exerting its force to power the clock. You can hear the electric rewind cutting in on the recording of the clock ticking about 1 minute into the recording here at

The chiming mechanism

In brief, the chiming mechanism is driven by a separate set of weights and gears.

  • The minute hand has an iron loop on the rod that drives it.
  • As the minute hand turns and approached the hour, the loop gradually lifts a long lever connected to the chiming gear set. This primes the whole mechanism.
  • On the hour, the lever falls off the loop and this initiates the turning of the gears, powered by the weights.
  • One of the gears is a ‘counting wheel’, which lets the hammer hit the bell repeatedly for a fixed number of times.
  • Once the count for a particular hour has completed, the mechanism is still again, till the priming of the long lever by the iron loop on the rod linked to the minute hand.

Currently, I have insufficient information and photos to show the mechanism in full.

Why do we have 12 hour, 60 minute, 60 second clocks?

In brief, we owe the 24 hour day divided into 12 hours at night to as far back as the ancient Egyptians. The first known mathematicians, the Sumerians, used a system based on the number 60. This was passed down to us through the Babylonians – to the Egyptians –Greeks – Romans – Arabs – Western civilisation. The idea of dividing an hour into 60 minutes and minutes into 60 seconds was already present in the 14th century in Europe but clocks were not accurate enough to include minutes till the 17th Century. The first known clock marking seconds was made at the end of the 16th century, however, it wasn’t till the invention of the pendulum clock in 1656 that seconds could be measured accurately.

The division of night and day

To the earliest civilisations, Day and Night were two totally different entities. The rising and setting constellations from dusk till dawn were full of meaning and possible portents, both good and bad. From ancient Egypt to the early Chinese, the celestial clock was keenly measured with early astrolabes, and mathematics evolved to help calculate the seasons. Surely, if the stars, moon and planets could do that, they must have an influence on mortal beings, from kings to the most lowly slave – and astrology was born. The preference for calculations based on the number 12 led to the first division of the night into 12 hours.

For ancient Egyptians, a giant scarab beetle trundled the sun across the sky during the day and the first sundials, in the form of stele, measured its progress by the wandering shadow. The day too was divided into 12 hours. Both sun times and star times were important to call people to pray and sacrifice at the temples at the right times.

When does a 24 hour day start?

The idea of a 24 hour cycle of day and night became established. But when did a day start? Some began counting hours from sunrise to sunrise. The ancient Jews counted the hours from sunset to sunset. The Roman occupiers of Israel began their day at midnight. This has caused some confusion with scholars for quotes in the Bible giving an hour of the day – was the person using Roman time or Jewish time – there is a whole 9 hours difference!

Even today, the clocks start at midnight, but the Jewish day starts at sunset.

How long is an hour?

Even the ancient civilisations closer to the equator were aware that the 12 hours during the day and 12 hours during the night were unequal in length. Here, further north in Europe, the difference is really pronounced. At the winter solstice in Milton, we only have about 7 hours and 20 minutes of daylight. If the day were divided into the classical 12 hours, each ‘hour’ would only be 37 minutes long! At the summer solstice, our days are 9 hours longer – giving as day light of 16 hours and 24 minutes. This would make a classical one twelfth daylight hour last 82 minutes.

Early church sundials therefore sometimes had complicated additional lines, so that you could work out what hour of the day it was at any time in the season. No wonder people relied more on the chiming of the church bells to mark the passing hours of the day.

It took the invention of the ‘escapement’, a device for making a mechanical element stop and start at regular time intervals (the ticks and tocks of a clock), for mechanical tower and church clocks to be possible.

The first recorded escapement was invented in distant China by the military engineer Lian Lingzan and the monk and mathematician Yi Xing in 720 AD. He used it to make a water clock that could move planets and figures to show astronomical events. The idea finally reached Europe in the 13th Century via Arab scholars. By the 14 century, simple escapements were used to ring bells called ‘Alarums’ (guess where the word ‘Alarm’ in alarm clocks came from). Gradually the first escapements were used in mechanical tower or turret clocks.

With the advent of mechanical clocks, the clock face was initially marked in 24 hours. The mechanical nature meant that the day and night were divided into 24 equal hours. It just became more convenient to refer to the mechanical clock time as the clock mechanism could be linked to strike bells at regular intervals.

Minutes and Seconds

The ancient Sumerians already had a mathematical system based on the number 60, more than 3500 BC. 60 was a useful number for early mathematicians because it can be divided by 12, 10, 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2. The system was passed to the Babylonians who had already thought of dividing an hour into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds in the 1800s BC, well before we had mechanical clocks. The system was passed down to us via the Greeks, Roman and Arab scholars.

Unfortunately, the first escapements in mechanical clocks were inaccurate – the best they could achieve was to within a quarter of an hour a day. As a result, early clocks only had hour hands. What they needed was a reliable system that could accurately keep time and pass this on to the clock mechanism.

It was a bored Galileo Galilei who came upon the solution – during a church service in the 1580’s. He noticed that the chandeliers in the church were swinging. Using his pulse as a time keeper, he discovered that a pendulum (like the chandelier) swings backwards and forwards at regular time intervals. The length of time for a swing is determined not by amount of swing, but by how long the pendulum was. In fact, a pendulum 99.3cm long will swing from one side to another in 1 second.

It took until 1656 for the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens to build the first pendulum clock. In 1657, Robert Hooke in England followed with the invention of his Anchor escapement, linked to a pendulum. Suddenly, clocks were accurate to a minute a day. Our church clock has a minute hand thanks to Robert Hooke’s invention and is accurate to about a minute a week.

The second hand did make an appearance on early German clocks in the 1580’s, but truly accurate second hands only reappeared in the 18th century, mainly on pocket watches and scientific time-keepers.

Whilst the All Saints clock does not have a second hand, listen to its Tick-Tock. Each Tick and each Tock occurs at about 1.25 second intervals. There are 24 ticks and 24 tocks (combined 48 Tick + Tocks) in a minute. You can hear it here at


Accessibility Information

All Saints strives to be accessible to all. There is level access to both the main Church building (via both entrances) and all Hall rooms, together with a disabled toilet. There are induction loops installed in both the main Church building, and the large hall room. Generally services use the projector system to display song words and relevant liturgy. Paper copies of the service words can be made available on request to the sound-desk (please request at least 10 minutes before the service starts to allow for them to be printed) 

There are also a couple of parking spaces at the entrance to church reserved for disabled access. For further details This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Privacy Policy


The Parochial Church Council (PCC) of All Saints’ Church, Milton. Updated 24th May 2018

Please note the Electoral Roll is a public legal document, which has its own separate privacy policy, which can be read here

1. Your personal data – what is it?

Personal data relates to a living individual who can be identified from that data. Identification can be by the information alone or in conjunction with any other information in the data controller’s possession or likely to come into such possession. The processing of personal data is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (the "GDPR").

2. Who are we?

The PCC of All Saints’ Church is the data controller (contact details below). This means it decides how your personal data is processed and for what purposes.

3. How do we process your personal data?

The PCC of All Saints’, Milton complies with its obligations under the "GDPR" by keeping personal data up to date; by storing and destroying it securely; by not collecting or retaining excessive amounts of data; by protecting personal data from loss, misuse, unauthorised access and disclosure and by ensuring that appropriate technical measures are in place to protect personal data.

We use your personal data for the following purposes: -

 To enable us to provide a voluntary service for the benefit of the public in a particular geographical area as specified in our constitution;

 To administer membership records;

 To fundraise and promote the interests of the charity;

 To manage our employees and volunteers;

To maintain our own accounts and records (including the processing of gift aid applications);

To inform you of news, events, activities and services running at All Saint’s;

4. What is the legal basis for processing your personal data?

Explicit consent of the data subject so that we can keep you informed about news, events, activities and services.

Processing is necessary for carrying out legal obligations in relation to Gift Aid or under employment, social security or social protection law, or a collective agreement;

Processing is carried out by a not-for-profit body with a political, philosophical, religious or trade union aim provided: -

  • the processing relates only to members or former members (or those who have regular contact with it in connection with those purposes); and
  • there is no disclosure to a third party without consent.

5. Sharing your personal data

Your personal data will be treated as strictly confidential and will only be shared with other members of the church in order to carry out a service to other church members or for purposes connected with the church. We will only share your data with third parties outside of the parish with your consent.

6. How long do we keep your personal data

We keep data in accordance with the guidance set out in the guide "Keep or Bin: Care of Your Parish Records" which is available from the Church of England website [see footnote for link].

1 Details about retention periods can currently be found in the Record Management Guides located on the Church of England website at: -

Specifically, we retain electoral roll data while it is still current; gift aid declarations and associated paperwork for up to 6 years after the calendar year to which they relate; and parish registers (baptisms, marriages, funerals) permanently.

7. Your rights and your personal data

Unless subject to an exemption under the GDPR, you have the following rights with respect to your personal data: -

The right to request a copy of your personal data which the PCC of All Saints’, Milton holds about you;

The right to request that the PCC of All Saints’, Milton corrects any personal data if it is found to be inaccurate or out of date;

The right to request your personal data is erased where it is no longer necessary for the PCC of All Saints’ Milton, to retain such data;

 The right to withdraw your consent to the processing at any time

The right to request that the data controller provide the data subject with his/her personal data and where possible, to transmit that data directly to another data controller, (known as the right to data portability), (where applicable) [Only applies where the processing is based on consent or is necessary for the performance of a contract with the data subject and in either case the data controller processes the data by automated means].

The right, where there is a dispute in relation to the accuracy or processing of your personal data, to request a restriction is placed on further processing;

The right to object to the processing of personal data, (where applicable) [Only applies where processing is based on legitimate interests (or the performance of a task in the public interest/exercise of official authority); direct marketing and processing for the purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics]

The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office.

8. Further processing

If we wish to use your personal data for a new purpose, not covered by this Data Protection Notice, then we will provide you with a new notice explaining this new use prior to commencing the processing and setting out the relevant purposes and processing conditions. Where and whenever necessary, we will seek your prior consent to the new processing.

9. Contact Details

To exercise all relevant rights, queries of complaints please in the first instance contact the Parish Administrator (01223 441007 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

All Saints Church, Church Lane, Milton, Cambridge. CB24 6AB - Registered charity number: 1142388.

You can contact the Information Commissioners Office on 0303 123 1113 or via email or at the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire. SK9 5AF.


The history of the church in Milton


All Saint's church - image © 2012 Paul Oldham

Photo courtesy Paul Oldham - full size original and details of how it was taken can be found here


The main source for this page is " A History of the Parish of Milton" written by William Keating Clay, the vicar of the neighbouring village of Waterbeach in 1869. It can be found in the Cambridgeshire Collection at Cambridge Central Library. In 1769 the historian William Cole moved to Milton and his writings contain some interesting comments on the church.

Milton village

It helps to understand the history of All Saints to know that Milton is about 3 miles from the centre of Cambridge and about one mile from the River Cam. Milton means Middle-town; prior to the area being drained it was surrounded by fens. Until the by-pass was built it was on the Cambridge to Ely Road.


No-one knows for certain when the first church was built in Milton. It seems likely there was one by 970 when Brihtonus, the first Saxon abbot of Ely acquired land in Milton. There is known to have been a monastery across the river at Horningsea from the early ninth century & the monks could have reached the site of All Saints by boat at that time.

After the Norman Conquest the land was "acquired" by Picot, the Norman Sheriff of Cambridgeshire. Thomas, the chronicler of Ely Abbey, describes him in strong terms e.g. "impudent dog". However it is known that he built the church of St. Giles in Cambridge and as the chancel arch of Milton church dates from the period, it seems likely he was influential in it's construction.

The Medieval Period

Relatively little is known about this period. We know that the Black Death came to Milton in 1348 and that the Rector died of it the following year. The wording of legacies of the time show that the church was thatched with reeds and that it had a high altar, a rood loft and a sepulchre light. Two guilds met in the church, All Hallows or All Saints and St. Katherine’s. The existing south aisle dates from around 1220 and the chancel was rebuilt after 1530.

In the reign of Henry VIII William Cooke bought the manor of Milton. He later became Lord Chief Justice and is buried to the north of the altar in All Saints.

The Reformation and thereafter

In general Cambridge was highly protestant. The likes of Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer plotted the English reformation in the White Horse Inn in Cambridge. On 7th December 1550 a general assembly of clergy and churchwardens was held at Holy Trinity Cambridge following which it was ordered that the altars in all the churches in the Diocese be thrown down by Christmas.

Consequently, it is highly surprising that the Lords of the manor of Milton for approximately a century from around 1570 were Roman Catholics. They suffered such punishments as having 2/3rds of their estate forfeited for recusancy. In 1631 Edward Johnson became Vicar. He had what were then considered to be papist practices, using the cross in baptism and administering communion at the altar rails. Accused in the 1640s of getting drunk with the papists at the manor house, beating his wife and swearing and cursing, he was ejected in 1645. Around this time the altar rails were taken away by order of the House of Commons. .

During repair work in 1845 some apparently medieval images were discovered hidden in a plastered-over niche in the south aisle; unfortunately it is not known what became of them. Their existence does though demonstrate that the Catholic influence in Milton was sufficiently strong for there to be an attempt to evade the protestant rulings of the church authorities.

The Seventeenth Century

One of the best sources of information for the seventeenth century is the record in the Diocesan registry of the visitations (Diocesan inspections) of All Saints. In 1610 a visitation noted that the linen cloth for the communion table was "not a convenient one" and that the churchyard fence was in decay. In the same year a complaint was made that Oliver Frohocke made "unreverent" speeches against the minister, that he was " abusye and contentiouse person and suche a one as settethe his neighbors togither by the eares".

In 1665 the visitation noted that the font needed leading and that the church door needed a lock, and that the church was lacking various essential books. It also instructed that the pulpit was to be put back where it used to be.

It is known that during the 17th century the church received much new woodwork including the nave roof.

The Eighteenth Century

Our knowledge of the church at this time comes largely from Cole who was none too complimentary about it, describing it as " an awkward kind of church, small lowe something dark and not very neate". He records how he sought to persuade the Provost of King’s College to give part of its old altarpiece to "this dirty church of their patronage". The provost then visited the church and said that it was so squalid that the altar part would make it look worse, but did donate part of the old altar rails.

Cole also described the Rector Mr Knight as a " furious madman" and the parish registers as "very often ill kept".

In 1779 a faculty was obtained to pull down the north aisle before it fell down.

The Nineteenth Century

Following the death of Elizabeth Knight, the wife of the Rev. Samuel Knight, in 1800, Flaxman, one of the country’s most famous sculptors, built a memorial to her on the south wall. It shows her spirit being conducted heavenward by an angel. Samuel Knight’s monument in the south aisle includes the words

"Mourn not as void of hope a Christian’s death….

On Christ, My God and saviour I rely"

During this century the church benefited from having a very active Rector. John Chapman was Rector from 1841 until his death aged 91 in 1895. He held 2 services each Sunday with a claimed average attendance of 120 adults in the morning and 170 in the afternoon. He formed a choir, started choral harvest services and held midweek and lent services.

John Chapman was responsible for a major re-construction of the church, at least partly at his own expense. The chancel was entirely rebuilt, with a roof to a design by A.W.N. Pugin, and a vestry and new porch and new north aisle were built. Work was also carried out to remove the box pews and provide 157 seats for the use of the poor "free and unappointed". This was not to everyone’s liking. An anonymous letter published in the Cambridgeshire Chronicle on 4th August 1855 says:

"I am one of those who prefer a comfortable, old-fashioned, high-back pew to the modern low benches which to my eyes present an appearance very similar to pig pens in a cattle-market". He went on to claim that the new pews would cause rheumatism, catarrh, influenza and discomfort to those who sat near the door.

In his address on the completion of the restoration in 1864, the Rector took the opportunity to berate the congregation for failing to kneel during prayers and putting their hats back on after the service before reaching the porch.

William Clay’s book gives considerable detail about the church in 1869. We know that there was a "pigeon-house" in the steeple and that a small barrel-organ was situated in the tower arch, the singing gallery having been recently removed from the tower. In 1848 a clock had been installed in the tower, paid for largely by money received from the Great Eastern Railway as compensation for parish land acquired for the railway line. Written on various parts of the church walls were verses and exhortations such as "Praise the Lord" and "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth"

Interior view of inside of church circa 1935 (external link)

More recent times

A new organ was dedicated in 1911 replacing the previous barrel organ. Substantial repairs were carried out in around 1959. In the early 1980s a new rectory was built in the old rectory grounds and the old house was converted into a children’s hospice. At around the same time, despite some opposition, a church hall was built. In the 1990s it was further extended.

During the summer of 2001 the inside of the church was reordered, with the removal of the victorian pews, many of which were becoming rotten, and the adding of new stone floor pemments and a raised dias to create a more flexible worship area, more suited to 21st Century worship.

The Clergy

From around 1300 to 1846, the parish had both a Rector and a Vicar serving under him.

Although sometimes the post of Rector was regarded as a sinecure, the fact that Milton had for many years both a rectory and a vicarage suggests that it did at least sometimes actually have two clergy serving the parish.

The books of the manor of Waterbeach cum Denney show that the Vicar of Milton was fined 5 times between 1462 and 1479 for such offences as trespassing with his beasts. This is probably an indication of his poverty.

The right to present to the rectory at Milton became vested in King’s College around 1600. This has resulted in Milton having rather better quality rectors than might have been expected for such a small village, including a professor of divinity, and former headmaster of Eton. The vicars have included a Plumian professor of Astronomy.


Churchyard Regulations



Diocese of Ely

Parish of All Saints, Milton




(Additional regulations for All Saints' Milton churchyard can be found at the end of this document)



These regulations aim to clarify the legal position with regard to churchyards, and, in particular, respecting the erection of memorials in them. They also aim to ensure that the distinctive character of a churchyard is maintained in the context of its setting around the parish church. The policies of the Chancellor of the Diocese (the chief legal officer) contained in these regulations will continue to ensure a consistent policy throughout the diocese, and reflect those commended nationally by the Council for the Care of Churches in ‘The Churchyards Handbook’.



Parishioners, and other persons who die in the parish, have a right of burial in the churchyard provided there is room and it has not been closed by Order in Council. The place of burial is at the discretion of the Incumbent, unless a particular grave space has been reserved by Faculty granted by the Chancellor of the Diocese.


The Incumbent may, at discretion and if there is sufficient room, permit the burial in the churchyard of persons other than parishioners or those who die in the parish. These rights of burial extend also to the interment of ashes after cremation; but where a churchyard has been closed for burials by Order in Council, this may take place only if a Faculty has first been obtained for this purpose.



The erection of any memorial in a churchyard, or the alteration of any existing memorial, or the introduction of any other object in a churchyard, is a privilege and not a right. Bereaved people are frequently under the impression that they have actually bought the plot of land in which their loved one is buried. This is not so; they have simply paid for the work involved in the burial itself, and for a small part of the cost of the general maintenance of the churchyard. The whole churchyard remains in Church ownership.


Permission must therefore always be gained for the erection of (or alteration to) any memorial in the churchyard.


All churchyard memorials are subject to the jurisdiction of the Chancellor of the Diocese. However, he delegates to Incumbents and Priests-in-charge (and during a Vacancy, the Rural Dean) the right to authorise simple memorials that fall within their delegated powers (see below for details). If a parishioner wishes to erect a memorial which falls outside these delegated powers, he or she is at liberty to petition the Chancellor for a Faculty to erect the memorial of their choice. Such a parishioner will, however, usually have to demonstrate to the Chancellor that there is some exceptional reason for him to depart from his own general Regulations and grant such a Faculty.


Specially designed, beautiful and appropriate memorials are not discouraged, and application for such memorials will be sympathetically considered. It is important to note that the existence of a similar memorial or memorials to the one for which permission is being sought will not usually be a reason for the Chancellor to give such permission. To illustrate the point: the existence of older kerbs will not in itself be a reason for granting permission for another kerb; once immediate relatives of the deceased leave the area or themselves die, the burden of tending a grave falls on the Parochial Church Council, which will find the task of maintenance and mowing much more straightforward if there are no kerbs.


If a memorial or other object is introduced into the churchyard without authority, the Chancellor has power to grant a Faculty for its removal and to order the person who introduced it to pay the expenses of removal and the costs of any proceedings.



Churchyard Regulations (and they are very similar right across the country) represent the collective wisdom over many years of Chancellors and Diocesan Advisory Committees for the Care of Churches. They are in some respects different from the regulations which govern civil cemeteries. This is at least in part because of the different settings of the two types of graveyard.


A churchyard almost always surrounds a church building; memorial stones which may be entirely suitable in an urban cemetery setting will frequently look quite out of place when close to a Grade 1 or 2 Listed building. In granting Faculties for churchyard memorials, the Chancellor has to consider not only the wishes of the bereaved family, but also his responsibility for the maintenance of an appropriate setting for a parish church for the next 200 years and more.



Anyone wishing to erect a memorial or make any alteration to an existing one, should consult the Incumbent as early as possible, and certainly before making any choice of design or material.


A minimum of six months must elapse between the death of a person to be commemorated and the approval of a memorial by the Chancellor or Incumbent. The scale of fees (authorised by the Church Commissioners) payable to the Incumbent and Parochial Church Council in respect of the erection of memorials may be consulted on application to the Incumbent.


Once the memorial is agreed in principle, the individual should then make formal application to the Incumbent on the standard diocesan form. This will include the full particulars of the design of the proposed memorial, cross, or alteration, including a description of the materials to be used, its measurements, shape, base, colour, and decoration, and the style, layout and lettering of the proposed inscription.


If the proposed memorial falls within the powers delegated to the Incumbent, she or he may give consent to it; such consent shall normally be in writing. This permission must be obtained before placing an order with a stonemason. If the proposed memorial does not fall within the Incumbent’s delegated powers to grant, the applicant may (as indicated above) petition the Chancellor for a Faculty to erect it.


Faculty application forms and further advice may be obtained from the Diocesan Registrar, 1 The Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3JT (tel: 020-7222-5381; fax: 020-7222-7502; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


The Secretary of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches may be contacted at the Diocesan Office, Bishop Woodford House, Barton Road, Ely CB7 4DX (Tel: 01353-652727).



(effective from 1 March 2004 and superseding all previous directions. Issued on the authority of the Chancellor of the Diocese of Ely) This schedule specifies those memorials which fall within an Incumbent’s delegated powers.


Dimensions of headstone Headstones shall be no larger than 1200mm (4ft) high, measured from the surface of the ground, 900mm (3ft) wide and 150mm (6in) thick. They shall be no less than 500mm (1ft8in) high, 500mm (1ft8in) wide, and 75mm (3in) thick – except in the case of slate memorials, which may be thinner but not less than 38mm (1½in) thick. These measurements are not intended to define standard proportions of memorials, and memorials may be of any dimensions within the given maxima and minima. Crosses shall not exceed 1500mm (5ft) in height, measured from the surface of the ground, and shall be set in a sufficient stone or concrete plate, the surface of which is below ground enabling a mower to pass freely over it. Memorials of smaller dimensions may be allowed to mark the graves of children under the age of 12, but such will be authorised only by Faculty. Note: graves of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission are subject to different regulations.


Base and foundation slab A headstone may stand on a stone base, provided that the base is an integral part of the design. The top of such a base should, for preference, be flush with the ground; if it is not, it is essential that its foundation slab must be flush with the ground to allow a mower to pass freely over it. A recess for flowers may be incorporated in the base. The width of the base should not exceed 100mm (4in) beyond the headstone in any direction, except where a receptacle for flowers is provided, in which case the base may extend up to 200mm (8in) in front of the headstone. Other methods of fixing the memorial in the ground should be considered; the base of the memorial may be so shaped that it can be inserted directly into the ground at sufficient depth to ensure stability.


Ledgers As an alternative to a headstone (but not in addition to it), a memorial ledger may be laid flat on the ground. Such ledgers shall be laid slightly below ground level. The permitted dimensions do not exceed 1800mm (6ft) by 600mm (2ft).


Flowers Any separate container for flowers must be level with, or below, the surface of the ground so that it will not obstruct the passage of a mower. Wreaths and cut flowers must be removed as soon as they appear to be withered.


Trees and shrubs may be planted on or around a grave only with separate Faculty permission.


No artificial flowers may be placed in the churchyard except for Remembrance Day poppies and traditional Christmas wreaths, and these shall be removed within two months.


The PCC has authority to remove any artificial flowers which do not comply with these regulations.


Materials Headstones and crosses shall be made of teak or oak, or cast or wrought iron, or natural stone, and shall have no reflecting finish.


Traditional stones are normally to be used; especially recommended are Forest of Dean, Hornton Blue, Ketton, Nabrasina/Roman Stone, Portland, and York (limestones), Northumberland (sandstone), and Welsh Black and Westmoreland Green slates.


No coloured or mottled granites are permitted under these regulations, nor any granite darker than Karin grey, nor marble, synthetic stone, nor plastics.


Although the stone may not be polished nor finished in any way to give the effect of polished stone, the surface may be suitably prepared for an inscription.


Sculpture Figure sculpture and other statuary are not discouraged, but must be authorised by Faculty.


Designs Headstones need not be restricted to a rectangular shape, and curved tops are preferable to straight-edged ones. Memorials in the shape of an heart or book are not permitted other than by Faculty; nor are photographs, portraits, kerbs, railings, chippings or glass shades. Motifs and pictures are not normally allowed on headstones; if such are to be incorporated, however, they are normally to be of clear Christian significance.


Epitaphs Inscriptions must be simple and reverent, and preferably (but not necessarily) they should be of Biblical or Prayer Book origin. Inscriptions should be incised, or in relief, and may be painted. Plastic or other inserted lettering is not permitted. Additions may be made to an inscription at a later date following a subsequent interment in the same grave or for some other suitable reason. However, any such alteration must be separately approved. The lettering, layout and wording must be consistent with the original inscription.


Trademarks No advertisement or trademark shall be inscribed on a headstone. The mason’s name may be inscribed at the side or on the reverse in unleaded letters no larger than 13mm (½in) in height.


Commemoration after cremation Ashes after cremation may be interred, but not scattered, in a churchyard. For this purpose an area in the churchyard should be set aside under the authority of a Faculty. If the ashes are interred in a container, the container must be of perishable material.


In general, the previous paragraphs apply to memorials in respect of cremated remains.


Where an area is set aside for the interment of cremated remains under the authority of a Faculty, the Faculty will lay down conditions under which cremated remains may be interred. If the conditions allow memorial slabs to be laid, the previous paragraphs apply (as appropriate) to such, and they must be of uniform size, and laid flat 25mm below ground level. The permitted size does not exceed 525mm (21in) by 525mm (21in).

In all cases the Incumbent must be consulted before cremated remains are interred.




1. The Churchyard is closed for burials, other than for the interment of cremated remains.

All other interments take place at the Milton Village Cemetery on Landbeach Road. Further information can be obtained from the Clerk to Milton Parish Council, Parish Council Office, Coles Road, Milton, Cambridge, CB24 6BL, tel. 01223 861447, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


2. For reasons of space, monuments for cremated remains should not exceed 450mm (18in) by 450mm (18in) – please contact the Rector before submitting an application if a larger monument up to the maximum permitted size of 525mm (21in) by 525mm (21in) is proposed.


3. The materials for all monuments must comply with the current Diocesan regulations as set out above. What may have been allowed in the past cannot be used as a guide for what is allowable now. In particular, monuments in black or dark grey granite and/or with a polished or reflective surface are NOT allowed under the current regulations.


4. Monuments must be laid flat, 25mm below ground level, such that a mower can easily pass over them.


5. Monuments must be set out in even lines, to optimise the available space.


6. No trees, shrubs, plants or other adornments are allowed, other than within a flower container where provided. For reasons of safety, glass containers are not permitted to be used in the churchyard.


Rev David Chamberlin, Rector, May 2007


Church office: 01223 441007 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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