Saturday 27 April 2019

St Mary Great Shefford

This week I start taking you to some of the churches in West Berkshire, this is an area which is full of old churches that date back to the Saxon times. This week we visit St Mary Great Shefford which is the first of six I visited over a couple of weeks.
Though I had marked this church on my map of one I would like to visit but after looking at the church on a website I moved things forward and visited it sooner than I had intended. It is situated in a beautiful village not far from the M4. Some history off Wikipedia
"The Church of England parish church of Saint Mary is one of two existing round-tower churches in Berkshire. The other one is at St Gregory's parish church at nearby Welford.

The interior of St Mary's church
Unlike the three round-towered churches in Sussex, where the towers are plain flint cylinders with few openings, the tower at Great Shefford is built up of sections with ample fenestration, more like the East Anglian type. The base of the tower at least seems to date from the 13th century, and it joins the west wall of the nave in such a way that suggests it was constructed at the same time as the nave, which shows early gothic features.
St Mary's belongs to the West Downland Benefice, a group of eight neighbouring churches. There is a service held at St Mary's on the first, second and third Sunday of the month."

The approach to the Church is along this avenue of trees which makes a pleasant change.

It brings you out in the churchyard at the East end of the church

Going around to the West end lets you see this wonderful round tower, a very unusual feature in this area

Left the round tower with a hexagon section on the top.
Right the South side of the church with the entrance porch

Heading right over on the North side of the churchyard

Above the North side door with Left a North side view from the East end

The church from the churchyard over on the East end

Going in the porch to you cannot help notice the doorway and the inscription above

On the door pillar you can see carvings

Both of them show cats from what I can see
The church is single cell looking the same all the way through

Here the floor goes up a stem to where you find the choir stalls and altar
The East end is dominated by this stained glass window

On either side are wall paintings
One side shows an angel holding a branch the other looks to show Mary

The altar with panel behind

I enhanced the photo a bit to show how beautiful the altar panel was

Above the East Window

Left a view showing arch in the round tower and inscriptions over it

Right a candle holder on a choir stall

Above the caved stone pulpit with Left a view of the lectern with Bible and candle holders either side

Here we look down the nave from the pulpit

One side of the altar you can see these two memorials of Henry Browne and his wife Elener who died 4 months apart in 1662 & 1663

Two more memorials not far from the last two one quite faded but belongs to George Browne who was  Knight of the order of the Bath. He died in 1678

Above an enhanced view of the memorial of Reverend Thomas Ashley.
The brass on the Right commemorates the Restoration of the church during the 1800's

Two more memorials, one to Thomas W Hudson MA who was rector here, the other is two members of the Wilson family

Above memorial to Rev William Wilson.

Left one to Thomas Langford and his wife Mary

Above the organ also with inscription around the arch

Left looking towards one of the windows on the South side

Right one of the choir stalls

Above a figure of Christ in a niche 

Left & right the font which has a crack down the bowl

The church chest

Left the stained glass lancet window in the tower.
Right one stained glass window with coat of arms at the base

Outside  and a view West across the churchyard
Left a fenced tomb chest

This part of the churchyard looks down to the river Lambourn

The North side of the West end churchyard

Looking back East

This part is the new extension to the churchyards the river Lambourn is in the distance

Above I had to take a photo of this little angel watching over it's charge

Right the North side of the churchyard

Looking North from the East end

Ivy covering this tomb

Some older tombs by the yew tree

Above a breaching cross base and pillar with a more modern top

This I think may have been an extension to the old churchyard

This war memorial cross is in it

Right looking back to the main churchyard on the North side

The East churchyard extension looking towards the church

 I will leave you this week with this photo of the Langford cross made with the old clappers from the bells of St Mary taken during the 2012 restoration to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The clappers date to 1662
Till next time may I wish you a wonderful weekend