Tithe records show that Hampton Gay had a parish church by 1074. The original church had features from at least the early thirteenth century but in 1767-72 The Rev’d Thomas Hindes, a member of the family that owned the manor, had it completely rebuilt.
In 1842 the antiquarian J H Parker condemned the Georgian architecture of St Giles’ Church as ‘a very bad specimen of the meeting-house style’ (Parker, Church Guide, 1956). In 1859-60 the curate, The Rev’d F C Hingeston, altered the church to his own designs, replacing the round-headed Georgian windows with ones in an Early English Gothic style and by having the south doorway re-cut in a Norman revival fashion (this door no longer exists).
The remaining Georgian features are the gallery, the coved and panelled ceiling, the stone ball finial on the roof, and the weather vane.
St Giles’ contains a number of monuments, most of them to the Barry family. A seventeenth-century wall monument with kneeling effigies of Vincent and Anne Barry and their daughter, Lady Katherine Fenner, is the most notable.
St Giles’ is an unusual church in several ways. The village of Hampton Gay has all but disappeared, leaving only the church, the ruins of the Elizabethan manor house, and a few houses. The church sits surrounded by fields between the manor house and the railway. It has a minstrels’ gallery but no water or electricity. This gives the building a wonderfully atmospheric feel for its winter candlelit services.
We are currently undertaking a programme of restoration and repair.
St Giles’ is a Grade 2* listed building