History of the Church of St Botolph – A Millennium Year

The church of St Botolph (Grade I listed) has stood as a centre of Christian worship in the village of Hadstock for nearly 1000 years. It also plays an active part in the community life of the village, and is open almost every day to welcome villagers and visitors alike as a quiet space for prayer and meditation or just to enjoy its historic calm and beauty. Leaflets describing its history and archaeology are available in the church, together with postcards and details of current activities.

In 2020 St Botolph’s Church Hadstock is celebrating its Millennium. Many academics and archaeologists consider that this is the church founded by King Cnut (Canute) in 1020, to commemorate those who were slain in the Battle of Assandun in 1016, when he defeated the Saxon forces. In 1017 he became King of all England.

There is evidence of an even older church on the site before that. Was it even the site of the minster founded by St Botolph in the seventh century at a place which the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle calls Icanho?

Certainly the door by which you enter the church has been dated by dendrochronology (study of tree rings) to around 1034-1042 – which makes it the oldest working door in the country. Look out also for the wooden carving of a fox in a pulpit, the font on its Saxon base, the mediaeval ladder in the belltower, and the Victorian chancel designed by William Butterfield. And don’t miss the banners showing the Battle of Assandun, which were designed and made in the village and dedicated by the Rt Revd Rowan Williams at the service in October 2016 to commemorate the Millennium of the Battle.

We are proud of our church’s fascinating history, but it is first and foremost a place of worship.

St Botolph’s Hadstock: Our Millennium Vision

A living church at the heart of the community

  • offering regular worship, enabling young and old to mark the great celebrations of life and of the year

A warm and welcoming building in good repair

  • minimizing damp, draughts and heat loss with plaster repaired and structurally sound

A building used by and serving the community

  • hosting concerts, discussions, events as well as worship and prayer

A church with viable finances

  • for reserves and running costs

A community sharing God’s love

  • ready to give to those in need, locally and globally

A caring pastoral community      

  • supporting the lonely and ill with our love and friendship

A place for all to find space and solace

  • where people of all ages may feel at home and valued
Revd. Paula Griffiths

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