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Ogbourne St. Andrew

Church of St. Andrew, Ogbourne St. Andrew

Church of St. Andrew, Ogbourne St. Andrew Date Photo Taken 2011
Uploaded 21/11/2011 16:26:02
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Map Latitude 51.449739629340264 : Longitude -1.7305156588554382
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

A church at Ogbourne St. Andrew was granted by Maud of Wallingford to the Abbey of Bec-Hellouin c1130; it is possible that the building of a new church began at this point. The nave and arcades of the church of St. Andrew are the oldest parts of church and have been dated from this period. A piscina made from the remains of a Norman capital can be found on the south side of the chancel. The south doorway has been dated from c1190 and there are the remains of a scratch dial on the east jamb. The chancel dates from the early 13th century and its height and pointed arch contrast with the horizontal lines of the nave; this difference in heights and styles may reflect not only different periods of construction but also the discrete responsibilities of the prior and of the manor for the chancel and other areas of the church. The church had been dedicated to St. Andrew by the late 13th century. A window on the south side of the chancel is known as a 'low-side' or 'leper window', and was possibly for the use of those unable or forbidden to enter the church; alternatively, or additionally, it could have been a 'Sanctus' window to enable ringing of a bell in the course of Mass. The window was formerly closed by shutter, which is no longer extant.

Substantial alterations were made to the architecture of the church in the 15th century: The tower was added c1440 but owing to the proximity of the western end of the church to the churchyard boundary the tower had to be built into the western bay of the nave. The south-west turret of the tower contains a stairway leading from a door at the west end of the south aisle to the belfry. A clerestory was added to the nave, with two two-light windows on each side; the nave roof was thus raised to meet the level of the chancel roof. Both aisles were also widened in this period and the priest's door was likely to have been added to the south side at this date.

In 1553 there were three bells, of which one 15th century bell survives; three further bells were added in the 17th century and one in the 18th century.
A general restoration of the church, which had fallen into a state of disrepair, took place between 1847 and 1849. The chancel was repaired and the chancel steps raised in 1847. In 1848, under the direction of the architect William Butterfield, a new altar and altar rails were installed and the following year the chancel arch was erected; this is still in place. Fittings, furniture and new paving were also installed. The east window, which was probably in place in the 14th century, was mostly rebuilt and new coloured glass inserted in 1873. The south porch is also a 19th century rebuilding of an earlier structure.

Externally the church is constructed of sarsen and flint rubble, while the tower is faced with ashlar stone. On the east side of the churchyard is an undated burial mound which was excavated in 1885. Saxon and medieval burials were found to have been interred in the top of the mound.

The history of the vicars of this church includes two who indicated dissent in the course of their duties: Obadiah Sedgewick was prosecuted in 1607 for failing to wear the surplice and to use the sign of the cross in baptisms. Bartholomew Webb was expelled from his position as vicar in 1662, although it is known that he continued to preach in the parish until his death c1680.

From 1951 both St. Andrew's church and that of St. George in Ogbourne St. George were served by one vicar and were united in one benefice in 1970. In 1974 the benefice became part of the Ridgeway team ministry.

Baptism, marriage and burial registers for the years 1538 to 1639 have been deposited at Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre in Chippenham. Subsequent baptism registers from 1654 to 1914, marriage registers from 1654 to 2000 and burial registers from 1654-1902 are also held at the History Centre and may be consulted there. Later registers remain in the custody of the church itself.

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