Saturday 21 July 2018

St Matthew Harwell

This is a church I had forgotten about till I realised that I had visited the place many years ago but never wrote up a blog.Some history from Wikipedia
"The Church of England parish church of Saint Matthew may date from the 11th century. In 1962 The Times reported that walling had been found west of the tower indicating where a former nave had been.The herringbone layering of the masonry suggested that an 11th-century date is likely. At the same time a pewter chalice from about 1200 was found.
The present nave, east of the tower, was built in about 1200. This second nave has north and south aisles with three-bay arcades. The west tower may have been begun at the same time, but its Early English Gothic bell openings suggest that it may not have been finished until the middle of the 13th century.
The Decorated Gothic chancel is early 14th century and has a five-light east window. The rood screen is probably of the same date, but the screen's Perpendicular Gothic top is later.
The tower has a ring of eight bells. Joseph Carter, who was Master bellfounder at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and also had a foundry at Reading, cast the fourth bell in 1590 and the seventh bell in 1597. William Yare of Reading cast the third and fifth bells in 1611 and the sixth and tenor bells in 1612. John Taylor & Co of Loughborough cast the treble and second bells in 1932, completing the present ring. St. Matthew's has also a Sanctus bell cast by Robert I Wells of Aldbourne, Wiltshire in the 18th century. There is a single-handed clock on the tower's west face.
In 1975 a two-storey extension was built on the north wall which now contains a parish office. A new church hall was built in 1994."

St Matthews church as you come up to it

Couple of vies as you walk along the path leading to the church

This shot was taken with a wide angle lens

A couple of more views of the tower and the porch

Below the more modern clock you can see this older looking timepiece

The modern clock offset from the louvre windows

The new church office on the north side

One thing you notice is the lack of headstones in the churchyard, this is because the now line the churchyard paths

Most seem to have lost their inscriptions

but otherwise still look OK. I do not know the reason they were removed from the churchyard and placed here nut I doubt there is any relative alive who would complain anyway

The photos I took in the church I have no doubt were taken my hand

the screens are in the transepts

Views both ways in the nave

Wide angle shot of the nave

The North & South aisles

The church organ

The font which is older than a lot of the church

On the left a memorial and right a carving on  the chancel arch

Above think this may be in the chancel

Above an old piece of stone carving and right the South wall of the chancel
The pillar as some shields on showing the affiliation it had with RAF Harwell

memorial to Pilot Officer Valentine Baker

The rolls of Honour for both World Wars

Above the British legion flags at back of the chruch
Left an old memorial dating to 1772

Left one of the prayer boards in the church and right a Church Brass now on display

This piece of lead is initialled  and no doubt came from the roof of the church
I will have to return to the church at some stage and update the photos inside plus the new cemetery is just along the path form the church  and I have only shown the Commonwealth war grave section of it.
Till next time I wish you a pleasant weekend


  1. ...this beauty looks good from every angle. I've never seen stones lined up this way!

  2. Pilot Officer Valentine Baker's clock is a very touching memorial, but I am glad they left the old one there, too. Another fascinating church, thank you for the tour.

  3. Very nice - you have so many historic churches.


Thank you for visiting, I welcome comments but not spam which will not be published. I will try to return the visit to you. If you enjoy my work and would like to follow by email you can subscribe at the top of the right had column