St Andrew’s Church

St Andrew's is a church with a fascinating history, with many note-worthy features to interest the visitor.

There is a large Perpendicular window, which fills the entire east wall of the chancel. There are also Perpendicular roofs to the chancel, carved with shields and devices believed to represent the various degrees of men: a double eagle for an emperor, mitre and crozier for a bishop and abbot, callipers for a mason, square for a carpenter, a pruned tree for a gardener etc.

It is attractively light and spacious, and considered unspoilt by the modern restorations.

The pulpit and font both date from the medieval period.

The pulpit is regarded as one of the finest in the area. The medieval font features beautiful carvings of donors’ coats of arms, some of whose brasses can also be seen in the church. An informative leaflet, which provides a full history, is available in the church.

When was the church built?

It is likely that there has been a church on the present site of St Andrew’s since the tenth century. By the eleventh century the church consisted of the Nave and Chancel.

The majority of the current church was built in the 12th to the 15th centuries, and is in a mixture of architectural styles : Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular.

The south aisle was added around 1200. The 13th century chancel arch has grotesque head corbels, one of which is a triple headed monster. There are also some charmingly hideous gargoyles on the exterior.

The church was extensively restored in the 19th century; the rood screen was demolished and parts of it used to build a vestry screen.

There was further restoration and installation in the 20th century, including:

  • 1940 Organ installed
  • 1941 Lady Chapel restored
  • 1969 Renovation of the interior of the church

The North Door was built in the 14th Century, and still retains its original hinges and Sanctuary knocker.

The organ in St Andrew’s church was installed in 1939. The carved casework is from the 18th century and came from Radley College. It was restored and modernised in 1984, at which time the organ was raised nine feet onto a newly constructed gallery to improve the acoustics.

The space beneath was converted into a Parish Room.

The tower was built in the latter half of the 15th century, including a Sanctus Bell Cote on the East side (including an attractive turret with crocketed finials).

The Sanctus bell was rung at the consecration during Mass and few survived the Reformation. Only one other church in England can boast a Sanctus Bell Cote.

In 1545, Mrs Alice Aldworth of West Hagbourne left 16d to pay for the Sanctus Bell.

The Bell Cote was entirely rebuilt and restored in 1984 in French Stone by the stonemasons of Chichester Cathedral; the costs of this restoration were covered by a major fund raising effort. The bell is still rung daily.

During the 17th and 18th Centuries, the peal of eight bells was hung; it is considered to be a very fine and musical peal.

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