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Watchfield Church in 1950. Photo courtesy of Paul Williams
Colour photo of St Thomas' Church at Watchfield
Colour photo of St Thomas' Church at Watchfield
Aerial photo of St Thomas' Church, Watchfield, by Neil B. Maw
Aerial photo of St Thomas' Church, Watchfield, by Neil B. Maw

Church of St Thomas, Watchfield

Watchfield Parish Register (BRO D/P 112C/1/1) states that, ‘Watchfield Chapel having been examined and found in bad repair was taken down in 1788, the materials sold and the money arising from the sale of the materials was vested in the purchase of £260.4.1 three percent consols (Annuities) and the interest was appropriated and pay a Schoolmistress to instruct a certain number of the poor children of Watchfield. In consequence of the pulling down of the chapel the inhabitants of Watchfield were obliged to go to the Parish Church of Shrivenham, this being found inconvenient and the cause of many never coming to church at all. It was determined at a meeting held at Mr Bowles’ at Watchfield in Feb 1857 that the chapel should be rebuilt on a piece of ground called Chapel Ham and that subscriptions should be commenced forthwith.'

The new chapel was designed by Mr Steer, Diocesan Architect, and was built by Mr Burchall of Shrivenham. The Foundation stone was laid by Lady C. Berens, wife of Archdeacon Berens, Vicar, on Mon, May 18, 1857, and the chapel was consecrated by Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford on March 4, 1858. The prayers were said by Rev C.B. Calley, Curate. Mrs Calley played the Harmonium, Viscountess Barrington and the Hon Misses Barrington led the singing. The chapel was dedicated to St Thomas the Apostle, which was the same Saint the former one had been dedicated to. The chapel Yard was consecrated at the same time.

For more information on the building of the Church please go HERE 




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