St Helen's Church Folksworth
About Us: St Helen's, Folksworth
John Blackman (01733 240349)
David Ellis (07880 784859)
Folksworth is a fairly small village, a few miles south west of Peterborough, very quiet and peaceful given the close proximity of the A1(M). The church of St Helen is at the northern end of the village, a mile or so from neighbouring Morborne. At the start of the nineteenth century the population was 119. At that time the village would have been overshadowed by a massive prisoner of war camp a mile down the road at Norman Cross, with several thousand French and Dutch prisoners being kept there.
There was no church mentioned here at the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086.
The present building is thought to have been a basic structure of chancel and aisleless nave, which was built in or about 1150.
The chancel was standing in 1537, but it had been totally destroyed by the end of the 17th century. The chancel was rebuilt by Robert Pupplett, who was the Rector of Folksworth during the period 1702 and 1706.
The church was restored in 1850, when the chancel and the north wall of the nave were rebuilt. At that time a bell cote was put up on the west gable. A single bell hangs here, made by Thomas Norris of the Stamford Bell foundry in 1660. This bell is inscribed T Harris 1660
There are some interesting headstones in the church grounds here. One or two very nicely carved slate graves, as fresh today as when they were carved in Georgian times. A particularly nice piece depicts a trumpet blowing angel placing a laurel wreath on an effigy of the deceased. Laurel wreaths were often used to symbolise victory (over death) on gravestones.
Another stone, close to the porch, has a very interesting inscription, and also has a very early date on it. This is dated 1641, which makes it one of the oldest stones in any church within the catchment area of this site, that has a date that is still legible. The stone is to one Willian Cockrill and the inscription reads as follows.... "Here lieth the body of William Cockrill, wo waites for a gloriovs resvrrection who decd the 24th day of Febrvary" The "N" is carved the wrong way round on resurrection. Cockrill was a prosperous family in Folksworth at that time and a relative of William Cockrill in Folksworth at roughly the same period was described as being a Yeoman, a landowner, who had voting rights.