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St. Mary's Church


Nave with early 13thc. S aisle, N aisle of 1844-45, 14thc. W tower, and large square 13thc. chancel. The S aisle was restored in 1881-82, and the tower refaced in 1885-86. A further restoration was made in the mid-1970s to the stonework of the tower and the S aisle roof, and in 1987 major repairs were made to the N aisle roof, the ringers' chamber and the nave floor. The only feature reported here is the font, which dates from c.1200 or slightly later.

The font is in the N aisle to the W of N doorway - it was moved here from the ringing chamber in 1957. On a modern octagonal stemmed plinth sits a shallow tub-shaped bowl roughly carved with four large recessed panels, leaving four shallow vertical strips slightly proud of the surface. On top of this sits the font proper, an unlined octagonal tub, very much repaired, carved with a simple round-headed relief arcade, one bay on each face. The flat columns supporting the arches have boldly projecting rectangular capitals or imposts. Around the rim is a chamfer, and around the bottom of the bowl, a double roll on which the columns stand.

A booklet has been produced on the history and architecture of the church.


The stained glass windows

The West window in the north aisle depicts three figures closely connected with this part of England; St. Osyth, Alfred the Great and St. Frideswide. One of the North windows shows three of the Oxford Reformers, Dean Colet, Sir Thomas More and Erasmus. The other North window shows the three Archbishops of Canterbury, Lanfranc, Thomas a Becket and Anselm. The East window of the North aisle shows three early bishops, St. Swithun, St. Aldhelm and St. Birinus.

The subject of the west window is 'Christ blessing little children'.

The Society publishes a booklet about the stained glass windows and the story of each of their subjects.


The Hildesley brass

The fragment of the memorial brass to Margaret Hildesley , known as the Hildesley brass, was originally on the floor of the nave.  The fragment is the remaining part of a brass, originally comprising the inscription and the figure that surmounted it.  The brass was still in its original place in 1844 when William Hewett jnr. included an illustration of it in his 'History & Antiquities of the Hundred of Compton, Berks'.

The origins of the brass have been researched and a booklet is available, which describes that research.  The painstaking work leading to the construction of a full-size replica of the Hildesley brass is described in the leaflet.



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Last modified: 10/21/14