St. Lawrence’s Church

A chronological tour of our beautiful country church.

The Nave, the original church is the oldest part, as shown by the thickness of the walls. The North aisle was added in 1325, at which time the arcade of three arches was also constructed.

1380 saw the addition of the tower.

To the left of the South door is a holy water stoop dating from the 15th century.

At this time four bells were hung in the tower. They would have been rung from the ground.

In the 16th century, the clerestory and windows, together with the upper storey to the porch were added.

The monument on the North wall in memory of Anthony Cave, an early owner of Chicheley Hall, showing him kneeling with his son behind him, facing his Wife with their five daughters dates from 1576. Close by is the monument to his grandson, Sir Anthony Chester who died in 1635.

The present chancel was built in 1707 by Sir John Chester in memory of his first wife. The date 1708 is visible on the outside rainwater pipes. As a point of interest, the iron gate to the chancel was supplied in 1713 at a cost of 133. 13s. 6d.

Chicheley has a fine ring of six bells, the tenor weighing l6cwt. The ringing loft is most unusual in its situation. The bells were recast in 1717, at which time the last two bells were added.

The communion rails date from 1755.

Memorials to subsequent members of the Chester family are found on the walls of the chancel. These tiles are believed to be from the Minton Pottery of Stoke -on-Trent. The stained glass window at the West end of the North aisle, erected in 1851, was designed by O’Connor.

The organ was installed in 1890. Prior to this the raised benches at the rear of the church would have accommodated the musicians.

In around the year 1890, the pulpit was reduced in size when being moved to its present position.

As you will have realised, there are very close connections between the church and the Chester family, the builders of the present Chicheley Hall whose descendants remain involved in church life to the present day.

Above the baluster of the ringing chamber is a rood erected in 1907 in memory of the mother in law of the then vicar, Rev. Utten Easson. This screen was designed by Sir Ninian Comper.

In 1909 the vestry was added.

A memorial to those from the village who perished in the First World War is to be found on the South wall.

In 1918, the 18th. century chancel windows were replaced by the present stained glass designed by J. Hardman.

The West window was designed in 1924 by Bayne.

The electric clock, replacing a 15th. century manually wound timepiece, was installed in 1973 in memory of the second Earl Beatty, another occupant of Chicheley Hall.

St. Lawrence’s Church, Chicheley is featured in the book “England’s Thousand Best Churches” by Simon Jenkins.

The Rev. Utten Easson wrote very detailed reports for each year’s “Vestry Minutes”, viewable from the drop down navigation bar above.