St. Mary’s Cardington

The church is very largely the work of George Highton who almost completely redesigned it between 1897 and 1901.

Most of the money needed for the work, more than £18,500, was donated by Samuel Whitbread III. The chancel retains some features from the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century.

The original church was twelfth century and had, before 1897, a central tower, nave, south aisle, chancel with side chapels, and Whitbread family chapel where members of the family were buried. It was largely embellished by the Whitbread family in the eighteenth century and these embellishments were incorporated into the present building. Samuel Whitbread I, founder of the brewery business, was born in Cardington in 1720 and from 1760 to 1788 began giving gifts to the church. Work on the family vault began in 1791, five years before Samuel’s death.

The church had been much criticised throughout the nineteenth century as being old fashioned and rather smacking of non-conformism in its layout, but it was structural problems with the tower which led to the decision to restore the whole building.

A memorial to the dead of the R101 airship was added in the twentieth century.