The History of St. Andrew’s, Preston

St Andrew’s was constructed in around 1375 AD. It was preceded by a
smaller Norman chapel on the same site and there is significant evidence
to support the claim that an Anglo-Saxon church preceded them both.
The first recorded Prebendary was James de Vercelii, in the year 1226.
Whilst the fundamental architecture is of Norman construction and
design, significant enhancements during the 15C and 16C witnessed the
introduction of several Gothic overtones.
The initial construction was in all probability based upon the previous
design architecture, that is to say a simple nave with no separate
sanctuary, The altar is situated in the east elevation with no concept of a
chancel. The original font (still in use today!) is situated at the entrance of
the church, as part of the traditional Pascal journey, and in lieu of a
formal traditional baptistry.
In the 15c when the sanctuary and narthex were added, we see the
introduction of the first Gothic style overtones, typical of the Medieval
era, and never better exemplified than by the substantial pointed
archway let into the east elevation wall to provide a spacious and
imposing entrance to the newly added sanctuary.
It is interesting to note the position of the altar tightly against the east
elevation such that the priest had his back to the congregation hence no
one could actually witness the details of the Sacrament, unlike post
Reformation altars. Also, the introduction of the hagioscope (squint). This
provided vision of the host being elevated during the Sacrament for those
not permitted to enter the church, such as lepers or undesirables, hence
they are also known as leper windows or lynchnoscopes. When the south
arcade was added, the hagioscope no longer provided access from
outside the church.
In the 16c, we see the removal of the south elevation wall and the church
further extended creating the south arcade, again with characteristic
Gothic pointed arches. The tower was added, and the west elevation wall
given way to a most impressive example of Gothic archways, to mirror
the 15c chancel archway.
So today, our church stands firm to the Glory of God, despite the ravages
of time and even the forces Cromwell and Iconoclasm in 16c, evidenced
throughout the fabric of our church, and with God’s Grace, will stand
testimony to His Word, for countless more generations to come.

Restoration work in progress