Shrivenham is a large open welcoming church which reminds us of the village’s medieval importance as a market centre and the site’s probable Saxon minster origins. The present building dates back to the 12th century, although, excepting the 15th century central tower, it is almost totally a 1660 rebuild funded by the regicide, Henry Marten, at a cost of £4,000. He lived at Beckett House in the parish. This is a tall church and large perpendicular windows that let in lots of light. Despite this, from the crossing eastwards, the whole seems rather neatly compartmentalized, with chapels flanking the chancel. Unusually, there are no transepts.
The chancel is a shrine to the Viscounts Barrington who were
later residents at Beckett Hall, inherited from John Wildman. Wildman's father
and namesake was an
MP and Postmaster General, who spent much time in prison for opposing both
Cromwell and King Charles II. John Junior had no heir and adopted one of the
Barringtons. The floor is carpeted with armorial ledger stones and huge
monuments adorn the walls, Wildman’s among them. They are all very wordy
but lacking in decoration. Flaming urns are as good as it gets, although the
heraldry is very colourful. More impressive is Admiral Barrington’s
plaque, near the west door. He captured the French ship, the ‘Count de
Florentine,’ off St. Lucia in 1759 and brought its flag back to Shrivenham
Church. The carved stone flag now adorning his plaque is a later
replacement. The oldest monument is a 14th century effigy,
weathered by years in the open. It appears to be a woman with long hanging
sleeves, although it’s not quite clear. Perhaps she was a member of the De
Beckett family who were around at that time. Fittings include a 1726
chandelier and a kneeling bishop in medieval glass, but don’t be fooled by
the Jacobean pulpit with sounding board. It was made in 1920!
This is not the official Shrivenham Church website. Please do NOT mail me about use of the church. Visit the C of E's Church Near You website instead.
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