Originally founded by King Edward the Elder as a Minster, Faringdon has a very large and historic Norman Church. The west wall and the tower of the present building are of 12th century in date and there is a particularly fine set of florally carved capitals to the columns in the nave and tower piers. Also a strange lizard-like creature at the base of one. However, the majority of the building was erected a hundred years later. The elaborate wraught iron scroll work on the south door dates from this period. The Unton Aisle was added in the 14th century. This is contemporary with the font which features several carved panels resembling window tracery. Each one is different and it has been suggested that this was done as an apprentice piece. The Pye (originally Pleydell) Chapel was built in the 15th century. The building suffered much during the Civil War at the Second Siege of Faringdon House (1646). The Royalist commander, Col. Rawdon, stationed marksmen up the tower, which drew heavy fire with the Parliamentary army attempting to topple the spire into the the Royalist lines. This forced Rawdon to blow it up so that it would fall the other way. The south transept also collapsed due to cannon damage. This was only restored in 1853. The spire has never been rebuilt.
The church houses many rich monuments to the Unton family of Wadley House and the Pye family of Faringdon House. Most striking is perhaps the kneeling effigy of Lady Dorothy, wife of Sir Henry Unton. She is all that is left of what must have been one of the most spectacular funerary monuments in the county. Destroyed during the Civil War, it was to the memory of her husband and is depicted in his unusual portrait now in the National Portrait Gallery. There are others to his ancestors: an heraldic wall mural to his parents, Sir Edward & Anne, the Countess of Warwick, missing its kneeling figures; a still colourful brass to his grandfather, Sir Alexander Unton & his two wives; and a beautiful effigial monument to his great grandparents, Sir Thomas and Lady Elizabeth. The Pye memorials are 18th century and feature cherubs and portrait medallions rather than full length figures. An unusual incised slab still remains to one of the Pleydells who were previously buried there. There are three brasses in the chancel, one to a priest.
This is not the official Faringdon Church website. Please do NOT mail me about use of the church. Visit the C of E's Church Near You website instead.
|© Nash Ford Publishing 2004. All Rights Reserved. The location of this church is now administered by Oxfordshire County Council.