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History of Fulbourn churches

There has been a church in Fulbourn from at least Norman times. Whether there was one here much before that is a matter of speculation, though a Saxon cross-head was found under the floor of the nave at the time of the Church’s restoration in 1869. There is also what is thought to be a Saxon coffin-lid fixed to the wall under the tower arch.

St. Vigor's and All Saints churchesAt some stage in its early history, Fulbourn became two separate parishes, each with its own church, All Saints and St Vigor’s. The tower of All Saints stood less than ten feet from the south wall of the chancel of St. Vigor’s. Only a piece of stone of the tower and a memorial stone to Elizabeth March remain of All Saints. It was ruined in May 1766, when its tower collapsed on to the Nave and Chancel. It was taken down by order of an Act of Parliament in 1776.

The dedication of St. Vigor’s is unusual, there being only one other church similarly dedicated in England – at Stratton-on-the-Fosse in Somerset. St. Vigor became Bishop of Bayeux in 514 A.D., and died in 537. There must have been close connections with Normandy just before or just after the Norman Conquest for these two churches in such remote parts of England to be dedicated to a local Norman saint like Vigor.

St. Vigor’s Church has been greatly altered and enlarged since its foundation. It is thought to have consisted originally of a simple nave and chancel with a west tower and wooden spire, a south porch, and perhaps a baptistery on the north side. The south aisle was added early in the 14th century. About 50 years later the church was again enlarged by the addition of the north aisle and a north porch, the elevation of the nave roof with the insertion of clerestory windows, and the lengthening of the chancel. The spire had fallen by this time, damaging part of the tower. Sometime during the next century, the south transept was built as a chantry chapel. In 1869 Rev. J. V. Durell set in foot a thorough restoration and “saved this church from ruinous decay”. At this time the north transept was added and the south transept extended eastwards to form a chancel aisle (now the Lady Chapel).
 

The original church The original church
Before the 1869 restoration   Before the 1869 restoration
After the 1869 restoration After the 1869 restoration