St Giles Cheddington

 

 

The earliest church of which there is any trace appears to have been built during the reign of Henry I or Stephen (i.e. between 1100 and 1135). This church must have been built in the Norman style and its outline is now marked by the present chancel and nave. Fragments of this old church are to be found decorating the walls of the porch. Two centuries later (in 1340) the chancel arch was widened and probably replaced a round headed Norman arch, but the greatest changes came in the 15th century. First the windows of the nave and the chancel were put in (but not the large east window which is modern). Later the north aisle and west tower were added thus completing the general outline as it is at present. All these alterations and additions were built in the Perpendicular style and so radical were these changes that the church has the general appearance of a 15th century church.

The Saxon name Cheddington and the fact that the church is built on a wooded hill give ground for believing that the first Christian church here was built on the site of an old pagan temple. It was a frequent practise of the heathen Saxons to build their temples among the trees on hilltops. St Augustine, who came to convert England in 579 A.D. was advised by Pope Gregory the Great ‘that heathen temples were not to be destroyed but turned, whenever possible, into Christian churches and that the huts which they used to make of boughs of trees round the temples were still to be used for amusements on Christian festivals’. If this happened at Cheddington, then the church built in the 12th century replaced a much older building. Pictures taken by Daniel and Thelma 14 May 2016, followed by a refreshing pint in the next village: at The Stag, Mentmore.

 

St Giles Cheddington

St Giles Cheddington

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