Saturday 25 June 2022

St Mary Thatcham


This week the Church Explorer visits Thatcham which is not far from Newbury just along the A4 Bath road and is where you will find St Mary's Church. It has been in my radar a while but untill this time I had not gone to visit, I must admit I am pleased I did. Not a lot of history on Wikipedia but I did find this :-

1304, when the Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr on the A4, now called the Old Bluecoat School, was granted permission to hold services. At that time the population was larger than that of Newbury. The chapel is a Grade I listed building. There is a Norman parish church of St. Mary, which was largely reconstructed in 1857. This is believed to be built on the same site as an earlier Anglo-Saxon church. It was previously known as St. Luke's. The church is a Grade II* listed building. 

 St Mary's church as I came along the path from the road

Lovely looking bell tower

Tucked in the corner of the tower and north aisle a cross, this is not the first church I have come across a cross like this

Heading to the North east end of the church

Then a look at the east end with north and south aisles

Wide shot here with different lens

Tower and north aisle

And the north side of the church from footpath that runs past

There is quite an extent of churchyard

Which has a number of old headstones in it

Like many other churchyards the north side is left to nature hiding a lot of headstones and tombs

There are still a few tombs you can see around

The path through the churchyard looking west

South side of the church

where this vast family vault is situated

From the path the churchyard on the north side

Really nice doorway that looks Norman

As you walk in to the right is the south aisle with Lady chapel at the end

The nave looking to the chancel

 North aisle

Back in the nave with my iphone

and a panoramic shot of the church

From in front of the modern altar

into the chancel with choir stalls in the foreground

The altar and rear panel look quite spectacular

Above the east window

and a view of the wonderful panel behind the altar

Looking back the opposite way

The magnificent east window

In the chancel is the organ

Just to the left of the chancel  arch is the pulpit

Where you see this view of the church. The area at the back is a meeting room and kitchen where the doors open up and give more area if needed

South aisle

The St Ann's chapel

with rather nice stained glass window behind

closer view of the window

Over on the south wall this old memorial

Ceremonial banner of A.S.B Tull who was High Sheriff of Berkshire

On the north side the tomb of Sir William Danvers which spills into the chancel

Wide view of St Ann's chapel

Door in the north aisle, it was most likely a chapel at one time but the organ now takes up the space

I made a few mosaics of the stained glass windows a couple each of the single windows and double ones

three of the doubles in the church

These windows are in particular nice, the top one is in the bell loft

The roll of honour on the chancel arch, there are a lot of names on it

Including Alexander Buller Turner VC, I have visited a few churches where you find a recipient of this award for valour 

Think this might be the only memorial in the church itself

Quite a few brass ones though

The font by the chancel arch

Now the vicar kindly gave me access to the mezzanine floor at the back of the church which is where I took this shot of the tower base where there are a number of memorials that you cannot see which is more the shame, nor can you see the stained glass window

You saw a teaser in the mosaic so here the the whole window in all it's glory

It also gave me  wonderful view of the nave which I took using a wide angle lens

The north aisle

and the south aisle

Changing lenses I took another down the nave to the chancel

Then took a panoramic with my iphone. That's it from St mart Thatcham

I will take my leave of you this week  with this photo I took on the way home when I passed through Hampstead Norris, just outside on the hill just noticed this stone because the shrubbery had been cut back. I probably passed his vault in the churchyard and never realised it.

Bit of an update on the churches I will be featuring. On Tues 21 June I visited 7 churches around Swindon, taking over 900 photos. On my return while updating my records of the churches I discovered three churches I had made return visits to in 2021 and have never posted so I will be writing these in due course.

Till next time have a wonderful weekend