St. Michael and All Saints is probably the older of the two Dedications, a more recent being to that of St. Giles, so that Wadenhoe is one of several Churches in the country with double Dedications. Indeed, until comparatively recently, it was known as "St. Giles Church." A banner to St. Giles can be seen resting against the East wall of The Chancel.
The internal dimensions of the church are as follows:
CHANCEL 27ft x 16ft with Vestry and stone implement shed on the South side.
NAVE 36ft x 19ft.
NORTH AND SOUTH AISLES Each 12ft 6ins wide.
WEST TOWER 15ft x 14ft 6ins.
The East Window has two lights with a circle in the head and dates from about 1250. The single Lancets in the North and South walls are in memory of a former Headmistress of the village school, Miss Anne Brittle.
In the North arcade (c.1250) the three pointed arches rest on piers consisting of four shafts with moulded capitals and bases with a half-round respond (half pier) at the East end and a corbel at the West end. In the capitals of Cthe respond and of the first pier the pellet ornament is seen whilst on the second pierare small rosettes. Both piers are mounted on large plinths. The South arcade is of a later period, probably 1280-90. The shafts in this case have a fillet (narrow flat band) on the face and at each end is a half octagonal respond. The capitals also vary, those of the East respond and second pier have stiff upturned foliage of large veined leaves and round the stems, whilst the plinths have claw corners.
In the North aisle the windows are 14th century, that at the East end being of trefoiled (triple arched) lights with modern reticulated tracery. The other windows consist of two lights with quatrefoil (quadruple arched) in the head.
On each side of the East window is a moulded corbel for a statue.
In the South aisle the window has three trefoiled lights with slight piercings and is circa 1280. Near it is a pointed piscina (recessed basin) with fluted bowl and inner trefoil arch on plain corbels.
The other windows in this aisle are of a later date and consist of two cinqufoiled (quintuple arched) lights.
At the West end is a stone wall-bench. Both doorways have moulded heads and lambs and there is a pseudo-Gothic plaster ribbed ceiling in the porch.
The clerestory windows have two trefoiled lights and are square-headed.
This is built in three stages with diagonal angle buttresses and a collyweston tiled roof. In the bottom stage on the external North side is a wall arcade of three arches, the outer ones are semi-circular and the middle ones are pointed. They spring from shafts and responds with moulded base and capitals and are decorated with foliage carvings.
There is a small round-headed opening above the single lancet (restored) West window. There is also a small lancet on the South side of the middle stage.
In the bell chamber the windows vary. Those on the East and West sides have two round-headed lights within a semi-circular enclosing arch and the tympani urn (arch infill) is pierced with a small vesica shaped (pointed oval) opening. On the North side is a restored 14th century square-headed window of two lights and there is a vice (circular stair) in the North-West angle. The arch to the nave is 13th century and is of two chamfered orders, the inner resting on half-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases.
THE FONT 13th CENTURY
This consists of a circular bowl ornamented at the top with lunettes, dogtooth, and masks in relief set vertically on the face of the cylinder. The lower edge is moulded and the whole is set on an octagonal stone base
This is of oak and early 18th century and was re-arranged at the restoration.
Those in the aisles are probably 16th century, some with carved and traceried bench ends. The remainder are modern as are the choir stalls and prayer desks.
The peal of six bells dates from 1937. Before that there were only three bells, the present Tenor dated 1607 and the 4th and 5th. These last two were recast by John Taylor and Company of Loughborough in 1937 and the Treble, 2nd and 3rd added. There is no date on the 5th bell but the lettering is of an older type than that on either the Tenor or the 4th (which have clear Roman letters). The date on the 4th bell is 1603.
Having been recast, the 4th and 5th bells can no longer be said to be old bells and that thus the 5th bell is not now the oldest bell although, of course, it contains metal from the original bell. In the process of recasting the old bells were entirely melted down and the metal therefrom repoured. Inscriptions:
4th Bell- Inscription from the old bell reproduced in facsimile as follows:
+ MVLTI VOCATI PA VCI ELECTI ROBERTVS ASHLE THOMAS GIBBLE 1603 (Ornamentation between words). GARDlANI lA IH
5th Bell- (In facsimile on recast bell).
+ AVE : MARIA : GRACIA : PLENA: DOMINUSTECWM : Tenor
ANNO DOMINE 1607 ET + GOD SAVE THIS CHURCH
CHURCH REGISTERS. These date from 1559.
The Church contains several interesting memorials, the oldest being a Brass in the floor of the Nave dated 1629. Between two lancet windows in the Chancel is a wall monument of weeping cherubs to Joan Bridges Gonersh who died in 1792.
There is also a brass plate memorial to Miss Brittle who was Headmistress of the former Church of England School in the village for nearly 50 years.
Other brasses are in memory of Admiral Sir Michael Culme-Seymour and his wife. The East Window is also in her memory. There are several memorials to members of the Hunt family who have long associations with Wadenhoe, one of the most poignant is the tablet with its story of the fate of Thomas and Caroline Welch Hunt who were murdered by bandits whilst on their honeymoon in Italy in 1824.
The stained glass window in the North Aisle is in memory of the Right Honourable George Ward-Hunt who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1868 and First Lord of the Admiralty in 1874. Some of the gold braid from the robes he wore as Chancellor was used in the making of the present Altar Frontals.
In the churchyard are some interesting 17th century tombs and headstones and on one of the buttresses on the South side of the church are three scratch dials. One is perfect and there are traces of two others.
There is a silver dish with the mark of Jacques Cottin of Paris. C.1726 and inscribed "To the pious memory of ye Revd. Mr Nat. Bridges who was Rector of this Church 1747".
The other plate includes a silver cup and paten of 1755 and a flagon of 1776.
These date back to 1559 and are as follows:-
Baptisms 1559-1716 Marriages 1559-1682 Burials 1559-1683 and 1714-1716
Marriages 1695-1754 Burials 1683-1812 This volume also contains penances between 1719 and 1763
Marriages 1754-1812 Marriages 1813-1837 Banns 1823-1922
Marriage Licences 1806,1824,1835
Burials 1813 to date
Baptisms 1962 to date
Marriages 1837 to date
The advowson of the Rectory of Wadenhoe has been held with the manor throughout its history. As far as can be traced, the first presentation was made by Henry de Vere in 1227. In 1307, Henry, Earl of Lincoln was granted licence by the King to alienate in mortmain the advowson of the church in substitution for that of Wivelingham which had been granted by him to the scholars of a newly founded house in Oxford University. It would appear, however, that this licence was never used.
In 1925 the Benefice was united with Pilton (Northants). In April, 1967, the benefice of Stoke Doyle was united with Pilton and Wadenhoe and in October, 1970, these three Parishes were united with those of Aldwincle and Thorpe Achurch to create new Benefice called "The Benefice of Aldwincle with Thorpe Achurch and Pilton with Wadenhoe and Stoke Doyle".
Under this scheme the right of presentation to the new Benefice is exercised in a recurring series of four turns, the Patron of Aldwincle, Thorpe Achurch and Pilton on the one hand having the first and third turns and the Patrons of Stoke Doyle and Wadenhoe, on the other, the second and fourth turns respectively.
Frances Hilditch gave £30 to the poor and this sum was invested in 1789.