History of St John the Evangelist

Rushford Interior

This church dates from the thirteenth century when it was part of a large manor owned by a Larling family.  Edward Gonville who came here from Larling as its patron and Rector in 1326 had plans to enhance the importance of the small village, split in political terms by the Little Ouse River which forms the border between Norfolk and Suffolk.  Indeed the name Rushford comes from the original crossing point, a ford between the rushes, as depicted on the village sign.  In 1342 Edward Gonville endowed a college for a Master and 5 priests in Rushford and built a quadrangular college just to the south of the church on the Norfolk side of the river.  Edward Gonville became Rector of Terrington and Commissioner of the Marshlands, founding Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge.

Rushford College was surrendered at the Dissolution in 1541 by the Master of the College, who was also Archdeacon of Norfolk and Steward to the Duke of Norfolk.  One week later the buildings, lands and endowments were passed to the Duke’s son, the Earl of Surrey, who ordered the lead to be stripped off the roof and the transepts and chancel to be pulled down.   In 1585 Robert Buxton acquired the estate and set about restoring the church, inter alia repairing the nave, placing brick mullions in the windows and adding the porch.   Six bells were added by Julia Buxton in 1855 and a clock faces the lych gate.  In 1904 after the death of John Henry Musker, his Mother continued the restoration by completely refurbishing the church and adding the apse constructed of lath and render on sole plates at the eastern end.

Rushford CrossThe vestry on the north side of the nave was built by the mother and sister of the then Rector, the Rev'd J.B. Atkinson, in 1889, as is recorded in a window. The cost was £150. The windows on the north side of the nave are l5th century insertions into an earlier wall. The chancel windows mainly have the 'Y' tracery characteristic of about 1300.  

Major work has continued in later years with the thatch being replaced and the tower repaired in the mid 1990s.  Later projects include the automatic winding of the clock, preserving all its original features, repair of the raised flooring under the pews in the nave, improving the wiring, re-thatching the lych gate and dressing, repair of the ridge and netting of the thatched roof

 Future Work: Future projects include the repair of the Victorian apse and a certificate of recommendation has been issued, to allow the PCC tgo petition for a faculty.  The next projcet is liklely to be the repair of the flint stone wall around the churchyard. 

Parochial Church Council: Now part of the Harling United Benefice, the Rushford PCC meets regularly.

Services: A monthly Holy Communion Service is held on the first Sunday of each month at 0900.  In addition, there is an annual traditional candlelit Service of nine lessons and carols, services of Holy Communion Service on Easter Sunday and Harvest Festival in the autumn.  The church also hosts a Benefice service which is held on a rotational basis whenever there are 5 Sundays in a month. 

Activities: In a village of only some 15 households, raising money is a priority.  In additions to the very generous regular giving and collections at services, the PCC hosts an annual concert.


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