All Saints Church
The centre of Cople is dominated by the splendid All Saints Church. One of the most beautiful churches in Bedfordshire.
The Church was originally built soon after 1087 by the De Beauchamp family and later became part of Chicksands Priory. The list of Vicars dates back to 1237.
It was rebuilt in the 15th century, although part of it a little earlier, by the families who owned the local manors. In the first part of the 16th century parts of the church were extended.
Only the top of the impressive and original ironstone tower is modern. The Church boasts a communion plate from around 1561, a 17th century sundial, a stain glass window installed in 1886 and six bells varying in date from the 14th century to early 20th century.
During the English Civil War Cople was in the Parliamentary camp because Sir Samuel Luke of Wood End was an important Parliamentary general. He was immortalised by Samuel Butler as Hudibras. The Vicar at that time, John Gwinn, was a strong Royalist and was arrested on trumped up charges of "debauched, lewd and contentious disposition." He was fined 100 pounds and committed to Newgate Prison, London. Later he was sent to Virginia, USA where he established the Cople parish (several historic references in the Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations.)
Another notable Vicar was the Revd. Henry East Havergal, brother of the hymn writer Francis Ridley Havergal. Havergal planned and partly constructed the organ and, unusually for his time, supported the agricultural workers in their struggle for better conditions. Havergal also began the restoration of the Church.
Many visitors come to the Church to see the brasses all of which commemorate people who were members of the families who owned the manors in the parish and who built or rebuilt the church. The brasses date from 1400 to 1563.
In the front garden of the private house next to the church can be seen the Bier House. This is a small building from the late 19th century and was used to store the bier on which the coffins were wheeled into the church for funerals.