Thursday 6 April 2017

St Leonard Woodcote

Woodcote is a small village over looking the Thames Valley one side of the Goring Gap. The A4074 passes beside it. The village I feel is a bit isolated being the main road passes it by so is popular as a place to live. The Church had been on my list to visit for a while and I finally got around to doing so when I found that it belonged to a group of churches I had started to visit so it seemed the right thing to do and finish of what I stareted. The History is from Wikipida
"By 1406 the parish of St. Andrew, South Stoke had at Woodcote a dependent chapel that served both Woodcote and Exlade Street. The chapel was dedicated to St. Leonard and there is a record from 1467 of John Chedworth, Bishop of Lincoln, issuing a licence for services at it. Architectural evidence suggests that the chapel, which had an apsidal chancel, was much older and probably dated from the 12th century.
The people of Woodcote and Exlade Street could not afford to pay a priest to serve at the chapel, and in 1597 it was recorded that the vicar of South Stoke held services at St. Leonard's only on Christmas Day, Easter Day and a few other days each year. Some worshippers travelled 3 miles (4.8 km) each way to South Stoke to go to church, but most preferred to travel less than 1 mile (1.6 km) to SS Peter and Paul in the adjacent parish of Checkendon. The law obliged everyone to worship in their own parishes, so since 1595 the Rector of Checkendon had prosecuted people from Exlade Street and Checkendon in the local archdeacon's court for coming to his church.  In response the faithful of Exlade Street and Woodcote petitioned John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury for permission to worship at Checkendon. Whitgift granted the request, so long as they continued to attend their parish church in South Stoke four times a year.[In 1653 the faithful of Woodcote and Exlade Street petitioned for St. Leonard's to be made a separate parish, but their request was not granted.
In 1845-46 St. Leonard's was rebuilt to the designs of the Gothic Revival architect H.J. Underwood. Of the original building little survives except the outer flintwork of the chancel walls.
St. Leonard's parish is now a member of The Langtree Team Ministry: a Church of England benefice that includes also the parishes of Checkendon, Ipsden, North Stoke, Stoke Row and Whitchurch-on-Thames."

A notice bioard and Church Sign greet youu at the gate

Looking at the South side of the church, the churchyard you can seen is neatly cut

Above the West end of the church with the bells and the North side of the church

Going around to the East end and the apse end

around to the South side

going back to the West end and view to the porch

Above the chancel cross one on the nave and another on the bells.
On the left & right the porch and entrance door

Inside you get a great view of the nave looking to the chancel 

The chancel with the apse at the altar end

Above the altar with the three stained glass windows letting light it. To the right & left are the side windows

Above the central window showing Christ while Right and left a stained glass window of the Madonna & Child

The walls around the Chancel and apse are painted  as well

Looking back out in the nave you can see a choir loft while nearby on the right the Pulpit

Above the view from the pulpit which is quite tall. On the right the church organ you will find at the back of the church

Above the font with One Baptism painted on it

Well as the loft was open I took the opportunity to get a couple of photos from it. The Nave, Chancel arch and altar

Around the windows in the loft you can see verses painted

Along with one that was not easy to get a photo of at he back of the loft

Outside some of the family tombs near the path leading to the church. The bird bath beside the porch made me think it was the original font but the stem looks like an old concrete pipe

At the West end of the churchyard is this garden of remembrance

Walk further around and you can see the newer headstones

Though you will find older ones forgotten about and the odd wooden cross

The grass here was recently cut as well

Above the grave of Gunner E.W.Pearson who died 10th March 1919. Nearby the headstone of of I presume his mother & Father.

I was taken with the Praying Angel you see here. I liked the life like features

By the church another forgotten memorial

Above another small angel with a cross behind. To the left some of the churhcyard still in use

This wooden cross succumbed to the rot either falling over or placed down. I turned it over to get a shot of the front. It needs repairing but I fear on day it will just be discarded

Mixture of new and old graves

Above an older grave with a more up to date one in the background
To the right you can see part of the east end churchyard that was overgrown and clared

Some of the tombs in there are still forgotten about

while many of the old headstones are seeing the light of day again

These have yet to be uncovered

Like this tomb

A final look at part of the churchyard

and a photo of the good Shepherd I took in the church

I will leave you this week with a view across the churchyard to St Leonard's Church
Have a wonderful Weekend


  1. I love the stained glass of the Madonna and Child.
    You were able to get so many wonderful photos. Most of our churches are locked except during a service which is such a pity.

    1. St Leonard's is open 9ish till dusk for everyone to enjoy.

  2. I like the picture of church north side very much. Also sculpture of praying angel looks beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I am quite taken with that handrail to the pulpit!
    And the daffodils.

    1. There pictures must be fairly recent because we added a small rail to the left of the pulpit as you look at it. Health and safety reasons. We did our best to make sure it was in keeping with the original rail.

  4. ...Bill lovely detail inside and out. Wonderful angels in the grave yard!

  5. Built to last! The Madonna and Child window is spectacular!

  6. The Madonna and Child window is beautiful, so is the angel in the church yard. The painted verses are wonderful. It all looks so neat and well maintained - not like some of the country churches around here!

    1. Bill, you also missed the inscription about the entrance to the church as you pass through the main doors. It think that would be a nice addition to your lovely pictures. Happy to send you the picture I have? I can't see a way to send it to you via this site...

  7. The area you mention as overgrown is in fact a conservation area deliberately left, it had just been tidied. The 'bird bath' is original and has been on the site since the 1100's and is the oldest part that remains. One thing for interest; originally the church organ was in the corner on opposite side to the pulpit. It was moved many, many years ago as the organist at the time didn't like to be watched while playing.

    1. You can contact me with the form at the top right
      Admitidly most of the churches I visit have a consevation area but I do think parts can be still cut back for people to see the old headstones and tombs which in a lot of cases are hidded under bracken and ivy. INteresting the bath is original though I doubt it was a bird bath back in 1100.


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