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Stanford in the Vale
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An Outline History of Stanford in the Vale

Browse Chapters:
Domesday Stanford
Medieval Stanford
Reformation and Tudor Stanford
Civil War Stanford
Early Modern Stanford
19th Century Stanford
The First World War
The Inter-War Years
The Second World War
Post-War Stanford
Church and Chapel
Schools and Libraries
Civic Administration
Health and Social Services, and Young People
Village Halls
Fairs, Festivals and Fetes
Clubs and Societies
Acknowledgements & Further Reading
Additional articles:
BBC Domesday 1986
Church Green Fire 2005
Coat Of Arms
Virtual Tour 2003

Church and Chapel

Though founded in 939, the structural development of the church began in the 12th century with the addition of the north and south doors. This was followed by the addition of the two lower stages of the tower in the 13th century. In the 14th century the north aisle was added, the chancel rebuilt and altered, and the decorated windows created in the south wall.

The north porch was added in the early 15th century, and in the late 15th century the south porch was built or rebuilt, together with the large window above. The nave walls were raised early in the 16th century, the earlier steep roof replaced by a flat one, and the clerestory windows above the north aisle added. With the top storey of the tower and the battlements added, the church began to look as we know today. The advowson of the church went with the Manor until the end of the 15th century, thence by 2ueen Anne to the college of St. Margaret & St. Bernard, Cambridge, and thence by Henry VII or Henry VIII to Westminster Abbey.

A Congregational Chapel was built in 1831, with an extension being added in 1864, which was used as a British School for a time. The Evangelist at Stanford also had responsibilities for Fernham between 1850 and 1872, when the two stations were separated, and continued with responsibilities for Shellingford into the 20th century. The Evangelist in 1871-73, Mr. A. S. Huckett, later became a Congregational minister and a missionary in Fianarantsoa, Madagascar. Approximate church attendance figures, not necessarily membership, stood at 28 in 1923, 29 in 1931, 38 in 1959, 27 in 1965 and 19 in 1968. The Congregational Chapel became the United Reformed Church, following unification, in 1972.

A Primitive Methodist Chapel was built on the corner of High Street with Marlborough Lane in 1888, and in 1932 joined the reunited Methodist Church of Great Britain. In 1939 the church at Stanford, with 8 members, was part of the Faringdon Circuit, with Rev. J. Alderson of Faringdon as Minister in Charge. Later, the church was part of the Wantage Circuit. It closed in about 1969, being used in the early 1970's as a storeroom for freezers and refrigerators, and was then converted into a private home, which was occupied in 1981.

Plymouth Brethren had a Meeting Room at 8 Church Green, and later at the Old School House until about 1946, with the village postman Mr. Hoare being the last lay preacher.

George Basil Eyston (1820-1904) appears to have had a private chapel at Stanford Place, at the north end of the civil parish, beginning in 1866, with Roman Catholic priests from Buckland visiting to say mass, although in 1870, when Father John Norris was the incumbent in Buckland, Father Ferdinand E Riley of Newbury was invited to perform this and other sacramental duties. Charles Turberville Eyston ( 1868-1938) succeeded his uncle's widow, Maria Theresa, at Stanford Place in 1911, and visits by priests from Buckland continued to 1918; by 1920, C. T. Eyston is noted as living in Buckland. Roman Catholics at the Stanford in the Vale workers' camp were served by priests from Buckland in 1952-60.

In Buckland, the Throckmorton family's domestic chapel was built in 1725; Roman Catholic baptismal registers begin in 1753; St George's Church was built in 1846-48. Catholics in Faringdon, served from Buckland since 1949, got their own church in 1974, a former Congregational Chapel built in 1845.

The churchyard of St. Denys was enlarged in 1833 and 1885, and again about 1958. A St. Denys Church Drum & Fife Band existed about 1895.

A wooden Mission Hall, erected for parish affairs by the Rev. Henry Aldrich Cotton (1835-1927, vicar of St. Denys from 1892-1915) and used by the Church Army under a Captain Parry, once stood in the garden of Rectory Lodge, Church Green. It was later used as a day school by Miss Dorothy Pates of Wantage, before being sold and removed during the First World War.

The benefice of Hatford parish was united with Stanford parish in 1938.

The new vicarage was built in 1981. Repairs were made in the 1980's to the church roof, to the tower in about 1988-89, and to the tower clock, which was given a new winding mechanism, in 1995.

The Rite B form of service was introduced to St. Denys' Church in 1980 soon after the arrival of Rev. Richard W.C. Jeffery, following on from several years use of the Series 2 liturgy; this was succeeded by the contemporary language' Rite A' for Parish Communion in 1990. More recently, c. 1993, bibles and new service books containing material from both the Alternative Service Book of 1980 and the older Book of Common Prayer have been purchased for the pews. New hymn books were purchased in 1983 ('New Standard Hymns Ancient and Modern') and supplemented with 'Songs of Fellowship' in 1993.

A new ring of bells was hung in 1970 (see below) and a new pipe organ was dedicated on 27 February 1983, after considerable fund raising. The present church choir was reformed in 1965. A new Altar Frontal designed by Suellen Pedley was finished in December 1985. The Sunday School was reorganised as Children's Church in 1983, meeting in the new village hall.

In 1990, Stanford's churches collaborated with the Faringdon Council of Churches in running holiday clubs for local children in the village and in Faringdon; in the following year, the holiday club based at St. Denys was run entirely by Christians in the village, and on three days of the last week of the summer holidays, it provided a combination of Christian teaching, and games and craft activities for 45 children aged 5-11 years. A total of 120 children from the village were involved by 1994. The name given to these holiday clubs, 'J- Team', is also used for an evening club that meets once a month.

The Rev. Michael Wenham was instituted in September 1988. The Rev. Rosanna Martin became the first half-time stipendiary woman curate in the deanery and parish; she was ordained Deacon in St. Denys on 13 December 1992, and was the first woman priest to celebrate Holy Communion in the parish following her ordination on 16 April 1994 in Abingdon.