I am so grateful to members who arrange visits to churches for which they have a particular affection. Our next is on 27th May to St. Botolph’s, Swyncombe
Ibstone was our April church of choice when our very own Karen gave us a talk on the main features of the church in its enviable position in an area of outstanding natural beauty. St. Nicholas was built in 1125 on the site of a Saxon church. The font is 12th century, most likely from the original church.
The yew tree is between 700 and 1000 years old, possibly the oldest in the Chilterns and the pulpit, ornately carved, with modern steps and base, is 15th century and said to be the oldest in England. As you can see, some unique features.
We also had some misconceptions corrected; one source says that the church being located a mile from the village is not unusual for country churches of the period. Actually, as Karen discovered, there is archaeological evidence that up to the end of the 14th century, following the ‘Black Death’, there were habitations along the road leading to the church and manor, so that the church would have been the centre of the, then, existing village.
There was a theory that the two bells chimed with the same note. Karen asked the church warden, the lovely Veronica, if this was true. Veronica answered by ringing both bells and, surprise, surprise, they have definitely two different notes! Thanks immensely to Karen and to Veronica. Do visit yourselves while the bluebells are in bloom.
Coffee at the Chiltern’s Fox was, as usual, a great opportunity to socialise for 16 of us, so a good turn out.
Our March visit (postponed to April was to Chalgrove where we were given an extensive guide of the church and a Power point presentation of the famous wall paintings - more to follow
Our own Parish Church of St Andrew was the venue for February; click on the sub-page for a review
St Mary the Virgin, Hambleden was the venue for January's visit which proved to be another gem. A more detailed report is shown as a sub-page; please click on the title to read David's report. After an excellent tour of the church provided by Alan Armstrong, we repaired to the 'Stag and Huntsman' for coffee which added a social dimension to a fine day out and the opportunity to meet new members. Thanks to Ro, Alan and Jill for the seamless arrangements made on our behalf.
Incidentally, Alan mentioned that a whole raft of churches along the Thames Valley leading towards Dorchester Abbey – a place of prayer and pilgrimage for many centuries - have been dedicated to St Mary/St Mary the Virgin. We have oft remarked that this may not be a coincidence. Does anyone have any information as to why this is?
Our November visit was to St Mary the Virgin, Ewelme when a formal tour took place of not only the church, but also the Cloister (almshouses) and school.
This follows our October visit to St Mary's, the parish church in Thame where we had a guided tour by one of the vergers.
The group was formed in order to visit churches, in Oxfordshire and Bucks., that are of significant historical and architectural interest. According to architectural research there are some 115 churches that fit the bill in Oxfordshire alone. At the rate of 11 per annum that should keep us in visits for quite a while!
At present we have 30 members who are either keen historians, art lovers or folk who love church architecture, sometimes all three. We meet at 10:00 a.m, at the church of the month, on the fourth Friday of each month. No visit in December due to Christmas celebrations which usually fall near our visiting day.
A list of churches, who welcome our visit, is prepared in advance; this is sent out to the members and a reminder goes to the group on the preceding Monday regarding our meeting time and place. Due to limited parking facilities car sharing is encouraged where possible.
During the recent crisis, we had to curtail our visits. Instead, David emailed a brief reminder of the church we should be visiting with some detail of what we are missing. Members in the Church Group remain very grateful to him for keeping our interest going until we were once more able to enjoy meeting in these wonderful old buildings, all of which have lots to see and appreciate.
Should you wish to join this interesting group, please contact David Fahey - Group Coordinator via the link below
Click to contact: %Groups Coordinator%