The ancient church (demolished 1790)

A church has stood on or near the present site certainly since the year 1122 and probably longer, possibly preceded by a pagan temple. Little is known of the old Saxon/Norman church as it was pulled down in 1790 and all that now remains are some parts of the tower, a 12th Century tapered circular font, some mediaeval tiles and a 14th Century bell. It is known that the church had a short low nave, a high chancel with a clerestory and aisles, a central tower and a small transept. The pulpit had a canopy. The pews were open except for two large square ones in the chancel belonging to Mr Greatheed of Guy’s Cliffe and Mr Winter of The Grange, or Wootton Grange. It is possible that at least the lower stones of the tower were not destroyed, but remain in the present tower.

The Faculty dated 23 March 1790 states, “The Church together with the chancel and tower thereof is a very ancient building and is by the length of time become so very ruinous and dilapidated that it is absolutely necessary the whole structure should be taken down and rebuilt.” 

At the demolition of the old church, a rope was tied round the ‘spire’ and the boys of the parish pulled it down. They were allowed to take part in the demolition of the church so that the memory of the event would not be lost when the new church was finished.

The history of our church buildings
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