Find out the dramatic history behind Linslade’s oldest church

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The oldest building in Leighton Buzzard, the church of St Mary’s at Old Linslade, dates from 1166 one hundred before All Saints in Church Square.

It was the parish church of Linslade for nearly 700 years until the building of St Barnabas to cater for the much larger Victorian town built with the coming of the railway that is the core of Linslade today.

The church was nearly declared redundant in the 1980s but saved by the Friends of St Mary’s who voluntarily maintain the church and the churchyard.

The old church in its pretty setting is now popular for weddings.

The picture is one of the earliest known images taken before the Victorian restoration to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee of 1897.

It was taken on a bleak mid-winter day and shows a churchyard wall close to the tower.

On Wednesday, July 16, there is a rare opportunity to learn about the history of this Norman gem and some of the Tudor nobility buried in the Chancel. For more than 300 years the Corbet family were Lords of the Manor and their emblem, the raven, is still to be seen over the door of Linslade Manor.

In the 17th century, Sarah, the widow of Sir Vincent Corbet, who fought for the King in the civil war, was created Viscountess Linslade by a grateful monarch.

A tour of the church and talk on its history, starting at 7pm, has been arranged by the Leighton Buzzard and District Archaeological and Historical Society. Entry is £2 towards church upkeep. Old photographs of the church including this shown here will be on sale.