St Mary was the first of the churches I was to visit on this occasion and after stopping off to park I quickly wandered around the church. The door was locked so I really was not expecting to go in but as I was around by the east end I hear someone call. After looking around for a moment to see where the voice was coming from I say someone hanging out the window of the house opposite asking if I had found what I wanted. My first reaction was to say yes, the person then said he thought I was looking for some one in particular and introduced himself as the churchwarden. We you know what I asked next and to my surprise he walked around to the church and let me in. I'll full in the rest in the blog. The church is mentioned in Britons 1000 best churches
"Charlton had a parish church by the 11th century. The present Church of England parish church of Saint Mary the Virgin was a 13th-century Early English Gothic building but there were substantial Decorated Gothic alterations in the 14th century. The east window is slightly later, in the transitional style from Decorated to Perpendicular Gothic. Around the beginning of the 16th century the clerestory and a new roof were added to the nave, and a new window was added to the south aisle.
In the early 16th century the present rood screen and rood loft (for a crucifix between the chancel and nave) were added to the church. During the English Reformation Edward VI's injunctions of 1547 instructed that rood screens and lofts be removed from all churches in England and Wales. Charlton's screen and loft survived these injunctions, and in the 20th century the critic Jennifer Sherwood judged them "the finest and most complete in the county".
A tradition of garlanding the rood cross with flowers and box greenery on May Day and carrying it in procession around the parish also survived the Reformation and continues in modern times. In recent years, due to pressure on the school administration, it is usually impossible to hold the May Garland Service on May Day so it is held either in late April or later in May."
In 1846 the Gothic Revival architect GE Street re-roofed the church and restored the north wall. In 1889 the rood screen and loft were restored. St Mary's has never been over-restored, and its Decorated and Perpendicular mediaeval character has survived almost intact.
By 1553 the bell tower had five bells plus a Sanctus bell, but all have since been recast or replaced. Richard Keene, whose foundries included one at Woodstock, cast the two largest bells in 1681. Thomas Lester of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast another bell in 1746 and Matthew II Bagley of Chacombe, Northamptonshire cast another in 1755. The then treble bell broke in 1789 but John Warner and Sons of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry recast it that same year. In the 19th century the Bagley bell survived for a long time with a fracture, but in 1895 its tongue and head fell out. Mears and Stainbank of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry replaced or recast the broken bell in 1898. In 1998 the Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast a new treble bell, making the 1789 bell the second bell and increasing the tower to a ring of six bells. In 1999 the new bell was hung and the old bells re-hung as a project for the village to celebrate the Millennium. John Warner and Sons cast the present Sanctus bell in 1793.
St Mary's church clock is of unknown date but appears to be late 17th century. Two of the wheels of the going train are characteristic of the work of the clockmaker and bellfounder Edward Hemins of Bicester, which would make them an early-18th-century alteration.
St Mary's is now part of the Church of England Benefice of the Ray Valley."
Before you star be warned you might want a coffee and cake as the blog is quite long
The church stands just off the road through the village
Where you cannot help notice this preaching cross
The end of the south aisle and porch
Here we look down the north side
Some recent headstones can be see, the white one in particular stood out for me
Looking back west up the churchyard
In the porch a beautiful stained glass window
First view and the organ is what caught my eye
The south aisle
I loved this view down the church to the rood screen
Inside the chancel looking at the altar
The tracery on the altar rail is superb
The altar with painted screen in the background
I did like the simplicity of the altar
Sidilia & Piscina
On either end are painted headstops
The sidilia which is a holy water stupe
I noticed this carving of the last supper on the shelf inside
Looking back from behind the altar
From outside the rood screen
Partitioned off for the bell ringers
The pulpit looks Jacobean with its stem
Looking out from it show a beautiful view of the nave and south aisle
detail of part of the stunning rood screen
The font with it's cover, could not say the age but is of quite a common type from the area
The top of the cover
Earlier I mentioned the organ, well it turns out the church warden is also an organ tuner and built the organ and on top of the played a few bars for me so I could hear how it sounded a privilege and it was wonderful
Looking over form the south aisle
The north door is blocked off and the alcove is used for the village roll of honour
The list of the fallen must have made sad reading when it first was put up, the names are all common to the area I recognise many of those family names
A commemorative plaque
Memorial to the prior family
The sunlight shins through the window
Nearly complete church brass
You can just make of the coat of arms and family name on this tomb
The floor tiles by the altar looks like that are from the middle ages
A picture bible on one of the windowsills
Madonna & child in a sidilia along the south aisle
Looking over to the south aisle
A prayer tree beside the priests chair