History at Wendlebury

Few churches have had a more unfortunate history than that of Wendlebury. It has been altered extensively and rebuilt twice.

The original church was built around 800 years ago as a Chapel of Ease to nearby Chesterton church in the late 1100’s.

It is said to have been a beautiful 12th CenturyNorman church built in the Romanesque style with its first Rector being appointed in 1215.

By 1639 just before the Civil War the South Transept had to be removed as it was tumbling down. This was probably due to the fact that the church was built on a clay sub soil and its foundations were insufficient.

This may also explain the events of 1761 when the church was deemed to be in a ‘ruinous condition & dilapidated state’.  Most of the church had to be taken down. Parts of it were preserved but mainly rebuilt.

Amongst those that were preserved were: 3 ancient bells, altar rails and the Norman font.

At that time the church also had 16th Century Chalice Paten from the reign of Edward IV as well as an 18th Century one from the reign of George II.

These items may be viewed in the Chapter House of Christ Church Cathedral inOxford.

The second Wendlebury church was built in a similar way. Most of the work was carried out by local people. This new church was opened 19th April 1762. It had taken the people of Wendlebury just one year to build. Sadly the church was soon in bad condition however it did survive for another century and a half.

In the closing days of the 19th Century the church tower had become unsafe and stones were falling. The East window blow in and snow drifted in. As a result the church was once again beyond repair.

So the church of 1761 was pulled down in 1898 and the church that we know and love was opened in 1902.

Although the church is without its tower and south transept it is a simple church full of charm. There are no stained glass windows therefore when the sun shines it illuminates the interior of this simple but beautiful church.

We still have our Norman font, ancient south doorway and altar rails which are touches of the Medieval and Stuart periods.

In its long and chequered history this ancient church has protected and guided the spiritual life of thevillageofWendleburyand will continue to do so in years to come.