The parish of Woburn Sands, of which St Michael is the parish church has a complicated story. Originally formed in 1867 the ecclesiastical parish was created from parts of Aspley Guise, Woburn Sands and Wavendon parishes. The Bedfordshire county boundary runs between Woburn Sands and Aspley Heath with the church being in the Aspley Heath civil parish whilst Woburn Sands itself is in Buckinghamshire.
The church of St Michael was constructed as the result of a bequest in the will of Reverend John Vaux Moore Rector of Asley Guise who died in the mid 1860’s. The site was provided by the Duke of Bedford and the designer Henry Clutton employed to produce the plans. His other work in the area included Woburn St Mary the Virgin and the similarity in styles between the two churches is evident.
Web Site: www.stmichaelsws.org.uk
Patron Saint: St Michael
The church has a chancel and nave with north and south aisles, a south porch, and a small stone spire over the west end of the nave. Renovations in 1889 extended the chancel and built a chapel and vestry on the north side. The original east rose window was moved to the new part of the church at that time.
The south side of the chancel clearly shows the 1889 extension with the high window to the right.
The window has three lights of which the outer pair are blocked as built. Inside, the single light shows the blocked outer pair as being purely decorative.
There are two other windows on the south side of the chancel although the outer view of the windows is masked by vegetation, both of two lights under the square top style used throughout the church. The purely decorative tracery is of trefoil design. These windows were added in 1968 to commemorate the centenary of the church.
The south aisle has two four light windows with decorative trefoil design tracery.
The south porch has single light windows to the sides with an ornamental Celtic cross design on the gable.
The west end of the church is dominated by both the small spirelet and the clock which unusually is mounted edge on rather than inset in the wall itself.
The two windows in the west end are separated by the buttress supporting the clock and spirelet above. They are of two single lancet styles windows with decorative trefoil design tracery and a trefoil in the head of the lancet arch.
The spirelet is round with eight faces, alternately blind and open with trefoil designs at the tops of each face. The clock was built by Thwaites and presented to the church in 1868 by one of the sisters of the original benefactor of the church John Vaux Moore.
The north side of the church was substantially altered in 1889 by Sir Arthur Blomfield who, as well as extending the chancel, moved the original rose east window into a new extension to the north incorporating a chapel and vestries.
As has been mentioned the original rose window was moved to the vestry and chapel extension in 1889.
The east end of the church shows the extent of the 1889 works and although there were plans at the time for a similar south transept to be built, this did not materialise.
The new east window is of three separate lancet lights joined by the decorative moulding above. Each light has decorative trefoil designs with a complete trefoil in the apex of each light. The glass was designed by Burlison & Grylls in 1890 and was placed in memory of William Henry Denison the first Churchwarden.
Inside the church, the font is situated just inside the south doorway.
The two aisles are separated from the nave by two arcades with slender columns.
The pulpit was given in 1890 by Mr & Mrs Stuart in memory of their four children.
The original church organ was donated by a Mr Stevens of Aspley Guise in 1868 and a replacement new organ provided in 1880 and is now situated at the east end of the south aisle.
The three seat sedilia along with the piscina were presumably added in the 1889 extension of the chancel.
The north chapel formed in 1889 was separated from the main body of the church by a wooden screen in 1920 and houses the original reredos moved when the chancel was extended.