Our next outing will be to to Ewelme on 26th November when a formal tour has been arranged of not only the church, but also the Cloister (almshouses) and school for which there is to be a pre-paid charge of £6. Please contact David for full details if you are interested in attending.
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 have had to curtail our visits; instead we email a brief reminder of the church we should be visiting, with some detail of what we are missing. The church remains on our list for visiting as soon as possible. Otherwise the message is anecdotal and fairly light in content. The purpose is to maintain contact with the members, some of whom respond with interesting comments of their own.
We hope to visit St. Mary the Virgin some time during 2022. "The nave and chancel of the Church of England parish church of Saint Mary were built shortly after the Norman Conquest of England. The building was damaged by fire in the 13th century. During the 14th century the chancel was enlarged and the north and south aisles were added. At this time the church served a parish including the villages of Chilworth Valery and Chilworth Muzzard, the hamlets of Combe and Little Milton, and the manor of Ascot."
That, I’m afraid, is pretty much all the church website tells us apart from where the bells were cast. However the full history is far more interesting; parts of the church date from the 11th century but mainly from the 14th. It has a three bay aisled nave with chancel, a west tower and a south porch. The windows in the chancel are apparently of some interest as two tiny round-headed windows at the sides date from the 13th century, and a 13th lancet to the south. The south aisle is elaborately decorated with many windows, each with a different tracery pattern. In the south wall there is a 15th century piscina and the remains of a 13th piscina. The tower is late 14th century.
There are, of course, Victorian modifications including stained glass east window of 1850, and other examples in the chancel and west end aisles. There is a 15th century brass depicting four children, and a canopied alabaster monument to Sir William Dormer, died 1616, and his wife and father with full length figures.
So, lots to see and appreciate, words don’t do justice I’m afraid so we will have to wait until our visit.
We look forward to seeing once more and to welcoming new members who we may not have had the opportunity to meet yet.
David Fahey - Group Coordinator
Click to contact: Groups Coordinator